When the South ‘Swings’ Together on Health Equity New Possibilities Emerge

Elaine Ruth Fletcher

While this week’s CARICOM summit in Grenada has been postponed due to Hurricane Beryl, when it does convenes, a key item on the agenda will be the new ‘HeDPAC’ initiative to deepen South-South partnerships to meet shared global health challenges – from pandemic threats to climate change.

In remote communities of Guyana, the introduction of new satellite technology is enabling freshly trained community health workers to get patients an accurate diagnosis and rapid, appropriate treatment in ways unimaginable only a few years ago.  

In Rwanda, meanwhile, the government’s achievement in getting the COVID-19 vaccine innovator, BioNTech, to set up its first mRNA manufacturing facility in Kigali is a success story that small island states in the Caribbean would love to emulate. 

At a high-powered dinner on the sidelines of the recent World Health Assembly, health ministers and high level officials from Africa and the Americas, set out a shared vision for a way forward on closer collaboration between the two regions under the umbrella of a new South-South partnership initiative, known as HeDPAC (Health Development Partnership for Africa and the Caribbean).