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  • Healthcare and Insurance System in the Caribbean

Healthcare and Insurance System in the Caribbean

06 May 2022

Most Caribbean countries have developed and implemented programmes on the national level, which are a part of the 119 United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Some of the goals are poverty reduction, high quality education for life, gender equality, and improving global population health. See how some of the countries are actively revising and implementing the approaches to provide high standards of living for its citizens.




The principles underlying public health in Aruba have their origins in the health principles and standards of the Netherlands, as well as in international agreements and recommendations of the World Health Organisation. Aruba's Health Fundamentals Act was passed in 1989 to control the quality of healthcare and medical care on the island. The law places full responsibility on the Department of Health: monitoring, management, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases, and quality of care. Since 2008, the Department has revised its health policy, which now focuses on the prevention, screening, and detection of early-stage diseases.

Funding for health care is provided primarily by the Aruban government (52.4%) and contributions from NGOs, companies, international donors, and individuals.




Jamaica’s National Development Plan outlines new approaches to health care restructuring with a focus on stakeholder involvement. The Ministry of Health supports and engages foreign partners, the private sector and research institutions in specific programs (maternal and child health, HIV / AIDS, reproductive health). The HIV / AIDS prevention program, introduced since 1986, continues working to this day. This issue is constantly under the control of the Government of Jamaica. Since 2013, there have been programs to reduce maternal and infant mortality, oral disease prevention, a strategic action plan to prevent and control cancer, and a mental health program.




Anguilla's health policy and health care system are based on social protection.

The Strategic Health Plan that took two years (2018-2020) to develop, identified new priorities: creating the health care system through the provision of health services at the appropriate level; human resources development and management; family health support; high quality food; healthy nutrition and physical activity of the population; diagnosis of persons with chronic non-communicable diseases; prevention of infectious diseases; determining the impact of the environment on health; and mental health measures.

The Ministry of Social Development is responsible for health, education, youth and culture, sports, and social development.


Antigua and Barbuda


Antigua and Barbuda have made great strides in health care. As a result of changes in the social sector, the quality of health services has improved. In particular, it was managed to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates andincrease life expectancy (men - 73 years, women - 77 years). After the implementation of appropriate measures and the establishment of desalination water supply systems, 89.3% of the population gained access to safe drinking water and 72.9% have access to improved sanitation, and 22.7% have adequate living conditions.

Antigua and Barbuda are currently working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is planned to reduce infant mortality, reduce the number of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth, reduce the spread of HIV, malaria, and other diseases, as well as improve health as a result of immunisation measures.


Saint Lucia


The Government of Saint Lucia strives for fair and quality medical care for all residents. Accordingly, it is working on the implementation of a universal model of affordable medical care. The main goal is to strengthen the organisation and management in the field of health care and social services; maintaining health and improving the quality of life; economic efficiency in the allocation and use of health resources; training of professional staff and motivation of employees in the industry; an effective health information system to support evidence-based planning; introduction of a quality improvement system; and strengthening the infrastructure to support health care reforms.


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


The policies of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are based on the principles of fairness, accessibility, and quality of health services. The Minister of Health and the Environment is responsible for the implementation of environmental policy and the provision of medical services by public authorities. The work of the government is based on the Millennium Development Goals (reduction of impoverishment, reduction of child mortality, fight against epidemic diseases, expansion of cooperation for development).

National insurance services are provided to citizens caring for the seriously ill, young children, and citizens who have received a disability or injury at work or lost a breadwinner.

Currently, the country has programs such as the Strategic Project on Chemicals Management, the Early Childhood Health Project, and the Industry Information Network Program.





The Ministry of Health of the Bahamas is responsible for health policy and planning; regulation and control; financing of health services; development and implementation of national health programs and provision of health services. The Minister is responsible for the work of various state bodies dealing with health care.

Public hospitals in the Bahamas were established in 1998. By law, the government is responsible for the management and development of three public hospitals and a rehabilitation center. The National Drug Agency and the Central Directorate of Management are responsible for mass purchases of disposable medical devices.

The government-backed health care system is responsible for providing the bulk of health care to the population, which accounts 87% of health care facilities. The cost of insurance plans in the Bahamas comes in a wide range that depends on your need and level of desired cover. Basic inpatient only plans can cost as little as US$54 per month, while the most comprehensive Bahamas health insurance plan with high limits and benefits can be as high as US$1,092 monthly. Additional coverage for outpatient, maternity, and dental is available, and will vary in cost depending on the plan.


British Virgin Islands


The Ministry of Health and Social Development is the authority responsible for safeguarding and promoting the health and social wellbeing of the people of the British Virgin Islands.

The Ministry strives to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates human development and improves the quality of life.

The British Virgin Islands have a Healthy Lifestyle Program among schoolchildren, initiated by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Social Development; Men's Support Program, a commercial project supported by the Caribbean Development Bank to build homes for the elderly to ensure their quality of life, support the spiritual, emotional, and mental health.


Trinidad and Tobago


Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health oversees the entire health care system. Ministry has a Public Health Inspection, which reports and alerts on possible outbreaks of infectious diseases. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which oversees the implementation of international standards, funding, monitoring and evaluation, plays an important role in health policy. Five regional health authorities are responsible for providing medical services to the public.

Strategies to improve health care include collaboration with the private sector and agreements with international professionals and organisations.

The health reform program offers alternative consolidation models for a sector whose main issue is the national health insurance system.

Medicines are free in all public medical institutions. In addition, the Program for Financial Assistance for Chronic Illness came into force in 2005. This allows citizens to receive free prescription drugs and other pharmaceuticals to treat diabetes, asthma, heart disease, arthritis, glaucoma, mental depression, high blood pressure, benign hyperplasia, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and thyroid disease. These drugs are distributed through a network of 250 public and private pharmacies across the country.


Cayman Islands


The work of the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture of the Cayman Islands is focused on two areas: 1) medical services within the public health system (district health centers, services for infants, school children, medical consultations, treatment of infectious diseases, medical cooperation, genetic counseling, collection of statistics and forecasting); 2) vaccination for tourists, compliance with sanitary and epidemiological norms and requirements, the system of monitoring food and the network of recreation areas.

Human health is recognised in the National Strategy as the highest value. The implementation of the strategy involves addressing the following issues: disease prevention, childhood morbidity, training and retraining of medical personnel, improving the level of service in the provision of medical services, sports development, establishing work with beneficiaries and more. Private sector health care is provided by hospitals. The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) provides an appropriate level of ophthalmic and dental services throughout the Islands.




The National Health Policy Committee oversees the development, support, and implementation of national drug policy. The Ministry of Health procures through the state procurement system and manages supplies through the health care management unit. An important organisation in the health care system is the Central Blood Bank, which receives blood from several collection centers across the country and tests it for various infections and viruses. Guyana also has eight laboratories equipped for tuberculosis testing. Services such as cardiology, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging are available in the public sector, radiation therapy, computed tomography and hemodialysis are available in the private sector.

The Ministry of Health supports the four diagnostic centers built under the agreement with Cuba.

The Ministry of Health and the University of Guyana, in collaboration with international organisations, are involved in medical research. The government supports research and development in this area in line with global regional initiatives.




The health care system of the Republic of Suriname is defined by the State Decree of 1991. In particular, it defines the missions of the Ministry of Health: public health, providing affordable medical services, ensuring free access to medicines, medical examinations of civil servants, network management pharmacies, hospitals; drug registration; ensuring an appropriate level of environmental safety; construction of park zones and landscaping of public places; industrial hygiene, control and supervision of clinical and pharmaceutical waste.

Life expectancy in Suriname increased from 67.4 to 68.7 years for men and from 72.8 to 73.7 years for women.