Barrouallie Smart Health Centre officially opens
Another smart health facility has been officially opened in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The keys to the Barrouallie Smart Health Centre were officially handed over to the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment last Friday during a ceremony at the facility, the Agency for Public Information stated in a release.
The upgrade was funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), in partnership with the Ministry of Health.
“The smart hospital project is an innovative project and the first of its kind to be implemented in this region,” Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean said at the July 16 ceremony.
“‘Smart’ in this instance means it is safe and resilient against many hazards. It is more sustainable. It is also improving its function for patients when it is needed.
For the Barrouallie community, Gebre said this facility will mean that no service will have to be discontinued in times of disasters, so that the health centre will not only be able to deliver quality care but also protect staff and patients in these times.
The PAHO representative also noted that other facilities will be retrofitted through further collaborations with the FCDO and the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Barrouallie Smart Health Centre is one of seven health care facilities that have been retrofitted to be safer, greener and more resilient to natural disasters and climate change.
This new smart health centre has been retrofitted to be more resistant to strong winds, flooding and earthquakes. Walls have been reinforced, the electrical wiring has been renewed and improvements have been made to increase accessibility, telecommunication and infection control, among other things.
Minister of Health, St Clair Prince said the facility in the Central Leeward town is yet “another improvement on the healthcare landscape in St Vincent and the Grenadines”.
“It is quite remarkable that while we are going through the triple challenges of dengue, COVID19 and the aftermath of La Soufriere eruptions, we are able to open such an important facility,” the health minister said.
Prince noted that “apart from the new maternity suite, there have been extensive renovations done to the nurses’ quarters. This is quite important since it is the expectation of the Ministry of Health that nurses will live at the facilities in their areas, thus making them more available, more accessible especially in emergencies…”
He also revealed that there are 16 projects currently being undertaken by the ministry to improve facilities across the country.
“We are doing these works in conjunction with our efforts in relation to COVID19; getting our protocols correct, doing our COVID19 isolation, our testing and detection etcetera. We are also dealing at the moment with the issue of dengue outbreaks. We are dealing of course with the services of the shelters and the aftermath of the eruption of La Soufriere,” Prince said.
The health minister continued: “The Ministry of Health at the moment is in full flow, dealing with the issues that we have to deal with, and there are some issues that are long term, short term and some are medium term but I’ll tell you that this particular facility we are opening today is just part of that”.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves also addressed last week’s ceremony.
Seon Samuel, the representative from DCFO; David Latchman, health planner, and Dr Orande Brewster, the Parliamentary Representative for Central Leeward also delivered remarks.