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    Health and wealth in paradise.

    Fraser H

    Perspectives in Health. 2004; 9(2):30-32.

    Think about a vacation in the Caribbean and what comes to your mind? Clean air, superb scenery, relaxation, reinvigoration, and renewal? Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many residents of the poorer Caribbean islands. In several Caribbean countries, from 15 percent to 30 percent of the population live below the poverty line. The region’s infant mortality rates vary from 10–12 per 1,000 live births in Barbados and St. Lucia to 24 in Jamaica and 52 in Guyana. Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS has taken a particularly heavy toll on the Caribbean, with prevalence rates that are second only to those of sub-Saharan Africa. In the wake of the United Nations Millennium Summit, prime ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in Nassau in 2001 to review the region’s health priorities and declared their conviction that “The health of the Nation is the wealth of the Nation.” Inspired by this—and by the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals—Caribbean governments have developed new strategic plans for health. How realistic are their goals in the current economic and political climate? How likely are these strategies to succeed in improving quality of life for the Caribbean poor? (excerpt)
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