British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) – British Virgin Islands

written by BVC March 29, 2024

British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA)

Leading Healthcare into the Future: The Women at the Helm of BVI Health Services Authority


Reshaping healthcare in the British Virgin Islands, driving innovation, equity, and excellence

In the heart of the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) is a cornerstone of healthcare, offering comprehensive medical services to the residents of this idyllic archipelago. As a statutory organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Health, BVIHSA embodies the commitment to ensure accessible, high-quality health services across the territory. Dr. June Samuel, the Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Medical Staff elucidates the mission and operational framework of the Authority with clarity and passion.

“The BVI Health Services Authority is fundamentally responsible for delivering health services on behalf of the Ministry of Health to the citizens of the BVI,” explains Dr. Samuel. This succinct delineation underscores a profound obligation: to provide a spectrum of healthcare services that span from the joy of birth to the dignity of old age, ensuring that every resident’s health journey is supported and valued.

Established through legislative action in 2014, BVIHSA has evolved rapidly to meet the growing health needs of the islands. At its core lies the Dr. Orlando Hospital, an 81-bed facility that offers acute inpatient care, surrounded by a network of 13 clinics dispersed across the territory. “We operate across the four main islands, ensuring healthcare is accessible to all, regardless of where they live,” Dr. Samuel notes, highlighting the geographic challenge and the Authority’s response.

Funding for BVIHSA is primarily sourced through the Ministry of Health via a national health insurance system, a sustainable model that underscores the government’s commitment to its citizens’ well-being. Additionally, as a statutory body, BVIHSA is tasked with identifying opportunities for self-funding, ensuring financial viability, and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing healthcare landscape.


Addressing the Health Challenges in the BVI

In an environment as serene as the British Virgin Islands, the stark contrast presented by the prevailing health issues among its populace cannot be overstated. Dr. Samuel reveals a health panorama that mirrors broader Caribbean trends with unique local nuances necessitating tailored responses.

“Similar to the rest of the Caribbean, we’re grappling with an epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Cancer, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes are our main concerns,” she discloses. The emphasis on NCDs reflects a global health shift towards chronic conditions that require long-term strategies, management, and care.

Mental health is another area of significant concern, amplified in the post-COVID era. “Mental health issues among our children, adolescents, and the elderly are growing concerns that we are actively addressing,” Dr. Samuel shares, highlighting the diverse demographic impact of mental health challenges.

Regarding the depth of services for conditions extending beyond primary care, Dr. Samuel provides an insightful overview of the current capabilities and gaps. “We offer a range of specialist services, including psychiatry, psychology, and mental health therapies. However, we acknowledge a significant gap in substance abuse intervention services,” she admits.

Addressing the issue of specialist care for chronic conditions like diabetes and the necessity for advanced treatments like dialysis, Dr. Samuel profiles the BVIHSA’s approach. “We offer a good spectrum of primary care and first-tier secondary services. For tertiary care, we rely on collaborations through our national health insurance system,” she explains. “This strategy of leveraging partnerships for advanced care, especially for subspecialty services like cardiology and oncology, offers a pragmatic approach to overcoming resource limitations.”

Strategic Evolution in Healthcare Provision

The British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority is embarking on a transformative journey underpinned by strategic upgrades and expansions across its network of clinics. Dr. Samuel elucidates on the multifaceted approach to enhance the physical infrastructure and augment the quality and accessibility of healthcare services. This vision encompasses a broad spectrum of initiatives, from facility enhancements to comprehensive community health assessments, all aimed at fortifying the healthcare landscape of the BVI.

“We’re in the process of enhancing our healthcare provision, starting with the completion of an expanded polyclinic in Virgin Gorda and several clinic spaces on Tortola,” she begins, outlining the immediate infrastructural developments. The mention of an expanded polyclinic signifies a leap towards more integrated and accessible healthcare services, offering urgent care, emergency services, and primary healthcare under one roof.

BVIHSA’s strategy emphasizes primary healthcare as a pillar of overall health system efficiency and effectiveness. “An increased effort in the area of preventative health is crucial. We aim to empower our community to take proactive steps towards their health, thereby reducing the load on secondary services,” Dr. Samuel stresses. This proactive approach is further supported by ongoing community needs assessments, a strategic initiative aimed at tailoring healthcare services to the population’s evolving needs, particularly in the aftermath of significant events such as the hurricanes of 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the paramount issue of cancer care, Dr. Samuel reveals plans to forge collaborations that bolster the Authority’s capabilities in this critical area. “Building partnerships is essential for enhancing our cancer care services, aligning with our goal to tackle major health concerns head-on,” she explains. The strategic pivot towards subspecialty services targeting heart health, kidney diseases, and endocrine issues exemplifies a comprehensive response to the territory’s healthcare challenges.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Irma, Dr. Samuel highlights the importance of preparedness, resilience, and adaptability in healthcare planning. “Cross-training staff, supporting their mental health, and anticipating the impacts of climate change are integral to our strategy moving forward,” she concludes. These insights encapsulate a forward-thinking approach that aims to equip the BVI Health Services Authority with the tools and systems necessary to navigate future challenges, ensuring a robust, responsive, and resilient healthcare system for the community.


Collaborative Networks Enhancing Healthcare Delivery

In the complex arena of healthcare provision, forging strategic partnerships is indispensable for amplifying impact and streamlining services. Dr. Samuel sheds light on the breadth of collaborations that underpin the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority’s efforts to advance healthcare outcomes.

“Our key collaborator is the Ministry of Health, which acts as a conduit for our engagements with significant public health partners,” she highlights, indicating the foundational role of this relationship in orchestrating broader healthcare strategies. This partnership is emblematic of a unified approach to health governance, where national and organizational objectives are seamlessly aligned.

Delving deeper into the regional aspect of collaboration, Dr. Samuel elaborates on the Authority’s involvement with entities like the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). “These regional agencies are critical for us, allowing access to a range of services, from public health initiatives to emergency response mechanisms,” she states. Such collaborations broaden the Authority’s operational capabilities and integrate them into a more comprehensive healthcare intelligence and support network.

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Pooled Procurement Services (OESPPS) represents another layer of strategic partnership, focusing on the logistical aspects of healthcare provision. “Through OESPPS, we engage in pooled procurement for pharmaceuticals and laboratory supplies, a strategy that significantly mitigates costs,” Dr. Samuel explains. This pragmatic approach to procurement underscores the innovative strategies deployed by the Authority to optimize resource allocation and ensure the availability of essential medical supplies.

The National Health Insurance and various medical services entities emerge as critical collaborators on the local front. “Working closely with the National Health Insurance and local medical entities allows us to enhance the scope and quality of specialty services available within the BVI,” Dr. Samuel notes. This collaborative ethos extends the Authority’s capacity to offer comprehensive care, addressing gaps in service provision and facilitating access to specialized medical interventions.

Pioneering Leadership: Women at the Helm

In the traditionally male-dominated field of healthcare leadership, the British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) presents a remarkable exception, with its executive management team predominantly comprised of women. This distinctive feature highlights a progressive shift in gender dynamics and showcases the BVIHSA as a champion of female leadership in healthcare. Reflecting on this unique aspect, Dr. Samuel shares her insights into the confluence of factors that have cultivated such an environment and the motivations that drive her commitment to healthcare excellence.

“It strikes me now that you mention it,” she acknowledges, pondering the gender composition of BVIHSA’s leadership. Her reflection on growing up in environments where women frequently lead provides a personal backdrop to her understanding of the current dynamics. She observes that the health services sector has long embraced female leadership despite the largely male-dominated political sphere. “The majority of executives have always been females,” she states, suggesting a cultural norm within the BVI that fosters female advancement, particularly in public service sectors.

Dr. Samuel candidly discusses the juxtaposition of operating in what is still perceived as a “man’s world” despite the preponderance of female leadership within the health sector. This duality underscores the challenges and achievements of women in executive roles, navigating through societal expectations and professional landscapes. “There’s a lot of recognition of the skills and capacities within the health sector, and females hold quite a number of the senior positions,” she elaborates, attributing this trend to a broader societal encouragement for women to pursue education and professional advancement.

When questioned about the driving force behind her work, Dr. Samuel’s response is profound and personal. “It’s my passion to serve,” she declares, tracing this ethos back to her childhood aspirations and the example set by her parents, both dedicated educators. This foundational belief in service as a pathway to fulfillment has guided her career, shaping her approach to medicine and healthcare administration.

At the heart of Dr. Samuel’s professional ethos is a visionary outlook for the BVIHSA, fueled by a recognition of its latent potential and her commitment to unleashing it for the benefit of the BVI population. “Anything that I can do to help us to realize that potential, while I can, that’s why I’m here,” she concludes, encapsulating a leadership philosophy that is as empowering as it is humble. Through her leadership, Dr. Samuel exemplifies the transformative impact of dedication, vision, and the relentless pursuit of progress, setting a sterling example for current and future healthcare professionals.

Click The Cover To View Or Download The Brochure


British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA)

What: A statutory body responsible for healthcare provision across the British Virgin Islands

Where: British Virgin Islands



Medical Protection –

Medical Protection is the world’s leading member-owned, not-for-profit protection organisation for doctors and healthcare professionals.

Founded in 1892, we exist to protect and support the professional interests of almost 300,000 members. Today we proudly support members around the world including in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

You may also like