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EU, PAHO receive update on commissioning of Owen King-EU Hospital

Image: Aerial view of the Dr. Owen King-EU Hospital. [PHOTO: Bill Mortley]

The Ministry of Health and Wellness recently held a high-level meeting to discuss plans for commissioning the Owen King-EU Hospital with the European Union (EU), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the National Authorizing Office (NAO) and the Commissioning Team for the Millennium Heights Medical Complex.

EU/PAHO officials were interested in gaining a firmer understanding of the overall plan and progress to date for operationalizing the new facility.

Dr. Tonia Frame, the EU’s Programme Officer for Health for the Eastern Caribbean, OECS and CARICOM, said the meeting was helpful as it was convened ahead of a planned meeting with the Prime Minister of St. Lucia and the Heads of the EU in Brussels.

“We’ve gotten a lot of information,” Frame said. “Many areas have become clear. I think more and more, each day as we work together with the NAO office and the Ministry of Health, we’re gaining more confidence that things are beginning to pick up and hopefully very soon we will see the hospital being opened to the people of St. Lucia. So we’ve really had an excellent meeting today.”

The near three-hour-long meeting took in presentations on health sector financing, the proposed Essential Package of Health Services under Universal Health Care and the progress made thus far in commissioning the new hospital.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Felix St. Hill, was pleased with the outcome of the meeting which he felt reflected the hard work put in by the Ministry of Health in moving towards full commissioning the new hospital.

“We are definitely continuing the way forward with our initiatives. As a matter of fact, a team from the Ministry of Health will be traveling to Martinique over the weekend again to further our objectives. Of course, very important for the EU is the fact that we should have more of these meetings because sometimes you have information gaps where the parties are not aware of what exactly we are doing or where do we go from here.”

The EU and PAHO officials offered further assistance to the Ministry of Health in various areas pertaining to the commissioning efforts. Another meeting is scheduled for December ahead of the Christmas season.

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