Gov’t Gets US$2.7M.
DESPITE several hiccups and delays, the St. Jude Hospital recovery effort continues to receive much-needed funding. The Mexican government is the latest benefactor to seeing the new hospital rise from the ashes of September 2009.
Mexican Ambassador to the OECS, Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno, presented a donation contract for US$2.7 million to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony on Monday. The donation was made possible through the Infrastructure Trust Fund for Mesoamerican and Caribbean Countries (Yucatan Agreement).
The grant is earmarked for the following specific project sub-components necessary for the hospital’s completion:
• Construction of the morgue building with associated renewable energy solution;
• Construction of the security monitoring and ambulance building with associated renewable energy solutions; and
• Supply and installation of the external area lighting of the hospital with associated renewable energy solutions.
The implementation of the above project sub-components will be facilitated by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which has worked closely with local authorities in presenting the relevant technical documentation to support the grant application process.
Ambassador Lopez Moreno said that through the Mexican Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID), Mexico will offer high-impact regional cooperation programmes in sectors such as health, environment, education, infrastructure, and science and technology so as to continue implementing projects that create tangible benefits. He added that his country is committed to strengthening its international presence and enhancing its international cooperation for the development of the Caribbean. This week’s donation, he said is “a strong example” of that commitment.
“Everyone should have access to health care facilities and for us it is an honour to support Saint Lucia’s effort to provide such access to its people, generating a lasting positive impact in their quality of life,” Ambassador Lopez Moreno said at the presentation ceremony held in the Cabinet Room.
Prime Minister Anthony said residents in the south of the island have suffered long enough due to the delay of the new hospital’s completion. Nevertheless, he said, those residents would no longer have to settle for a second-class facility as they did in the past.
Dr. Anthony said rebuilding St. Jude Hospital, which was gutted by an early morning fire nearly six years ago, “has had its fair share of difficulties”, resulting in “unplanned costs with the associated challenge of securing finances to complete the facility.” Nevertheless, Saint Lucians can expect a state-of-the art health care facility when its doors are finally opened to the public, the Prime Minister said.
“I assure all that the government of Saint Lucia is firmly committed to completion of this new facility and resolving expeditiously any difficulties that may arise during the course of execution,” Dr. Anthony said.
The Prime Minister thanked Ambassador Lopez Moreno and his team for playing their role in ensuring that the grant funding was made possible. He also expressed thanks to the staff of the St. Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project Management Unit for their efforts in securing the grant. Government, he added, looks forward anxiously to St. Jude Hospital’s completion.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of St. Jude Hospital, Dr.ChierryPoyotte, told The VOICE on Monday that the new date for the opening of the new St. Jude Hospital has been pushed back yet again.
“It is anticipated that we should be moving into the new hospital by either December this year or January next year,” Dr.Poyotte said.
Dr.Poyotte said work is already being done in areas such as quality management process, staff training and customer service so as to better serve the public when the new St. Jude Hospital comes on stream.
“For us to be a health care provider of excellence,” Dr.Poyotte said, “we really need to pay attention to how we treat the people we see. I think there are still some areas where we can improve what we’re doing.”
When the George Odlum Stadium finally ceases to be the temporary home of St. Jude Hospital, Dr.Poyotte said, all will be done to ensure that a “brand new attitude” obtains at the new hospital. He added that several unresolved issues, mostly infrastructural in nature, still obtain at the George Odlum Stadium.
Dr.Poyotte said he visited the site where the new St. Jude Hospital is currently being built and has noticed that the pace of operations there “has been ramped up tremendously”.