A team of officials from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the European Union (EU) and health specialists from neighbouring Martinique, have visited St Lucia to explore areas of cooperation as the government of Saint Lucia moves closer to commissioning the Owen King EU Hospital
Accompanying the team was Yves Vignau, former Director of C.H.U. Hospitals of Bordeaux in France who will be working closely with the commissioning team for the new hospital. Vignau brings with him a wealth of knowledge having managed the transitioning of larger hospitals in France.
In welcoming Vignau and the team of officials, Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, Alvina Reynolds , expressed her gratitude on behalf of the government for the offer of assistance from a hospital expert with such a wealth of experience.
“For us the excitement is grand Mr.Vignau. It’s a major facility that we’re commissioning. We’re excited and we want to make sure that we do it right. We understand that you have great experience in the field in working in a place like France where you have the best of the best as it pertains to facility, as it pertains to everything. And so we are embracing you because we really want to learn from your experience. The French and the EU have invested a lot in the hospital and health care for us and there is a good relationship between Martinique and Saint Lucia and it strengthens what we have done for the people of Saint Lucia.” Reynolds stated.
Liure Garancher, PAHO’s Adviser for the French Department of the Americas, said one of the major areas of assistance from PAHO will be in training staff to fully utilize the new and advanced pieces of equipment currently installed at OKEUH.
“So there is a team of French specialists who just visited the nice, new hospital to see how they can provide technical support…In Victoria Hospital you have one type of equipment and here you have something new which we are also using in Martinique. So training might be a big area for support where we would be able to receive people from Saint Lucia in Martinique to train on the actual equipment that we have and to see how they are functioning after the hospital is actually opened.”
The PAHO Official indicated that the training will be for a period of three months after which other areas of cooperation can be identified. With Martinique and Saint Lucia being so close geographically, she is anticipates even more exchanges going forward.
Vignau who will effectively function as a consultant to the Owen King EU Hospital Commissioning Team had the opportunity to tour both the Victoria and Owen King EU Hospital.