Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) made good process on improving the health of their populations; but concerns exist when it comes to meeting changing health needs. Due to remoteness and limited resources it is difficult to respond to high rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Furthermore, little is known about how primary care (PC) is organised and how this responds to current health issues. This study focused on gaining insights in the organisation of PC of Caribbean SIDS based on currently available literature. This literature review was an explorative multiple case study, where structure of PC and health status of 16 Caribbean SIDS were reviewed using available scientific and grey literature between the years 1997 and 2014. Thirty documents were used to analyse 20 indicators for the dimensions “Structure of Primary Care” and “Health Status”. Results were mapped in order to identify if there is a possible relation between structures of PC to the health of the populations. When reviewing the structure of PC, the majority of information was available for “Economic conditions of PC” (78%) and the least information was available for “Governance of PC” (40%). With regards to health status, all islands show improvements on “Life expectancy at birth” since 2007. In contrast, on average, the mortality due to NCDs did not improve. Saint Lucia performs best on “Structure of PC”. The British Virgin Islands have the best health status. When both dimensions were analysed, Saint Lucia performs best. There is still little known on the responsiveness of PC of Caribbean SIDS to NCDs. There is a need for elaborate research on: (1) If and how the functioning of these health systems relate to the health status; (2) What islands can learn from an analysis over time and what they can learn from cross-island analysis ; and (3) Filling the gaps of knowledge which currently exist within this field of research.
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||General medicine, Health & Social care, Public health|
|Keywords:||small island developing states, health care systems, Caribbean region, Primary care, non-communicable disease|