Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Tuesday, 28 May 2024 - 2:45pm

Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley is attending the Small Island Developing States Gender Equality Forum and the United Nations’ 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda.

The SIDS conference will run from May 27 to 31, and the Gender Equality Forum from May 25 to 26. Honourable Wheatley was invited to both meetings by the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).

The theme for the SIDS meeting is “Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity” and this year there is an interactive dialogue session on Health entitled - Investing in human capital: addressing health crises in small island developing states and building the potential of youth in small island developing states.

Honourable Wheatley said the meetings are important because small island developing states face unique challenges. He added that by collaborating and collectively deciding on the way forward, SIDS can enhance their resilience and address issues such as climate change, external shocks, and sustainable development.

In the margins of the meeting, the Minister for Health and Social Development has met with Deputy Director of PAHO Ms. Mary Lou Valdez, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries Dr. Amalia Del Riego, and Advisor, Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health Dr. Taraleen Malcolm, to discuss technical cooperation activities.

 “This meeting fosters international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and the mobilisation of resources tailored to the specific needs of SIDS, ultimately contributing to better health outcomes and sustainable development in Small Island developing states,” Honourable Wheatley stated.

The Minister added that the meeting also emphasises the interconnectedness of economic stability, environmental sustainability, social inclusion and healthcare access.

Honourable Wheatley added, “Achieving resilient prosperity ensures stable economic conditions, a clean environment, equitable access to healthcare and education, robust emergency preparedness, and food security, all of which are fundamental to improving individual and community health and well-being.”

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the Office of Gender Affairs Miss Patricia Hackett also attended the Small Islands Developing States Gender Equality Forum, sponsored by UNWOMEN from May 25 to 26.

The main objectives of the Gender Equality Forum were to share better practices and lessons learned on operationalizing the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway) and 2023 Agenda, to inform the way forward to ensure gender transformative resilient future for SIDS and increase networking across SIDS for women’s organizations, women leaders and persons working in gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development remains committed to promoting the health and social well-being of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Fitsroy Randall

Information Officer I
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Vornicia's House of Commerce, Long Bush
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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