Construction on an X-Ray Unit at the Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St. Andrew may soon begin as the Ministry of Health has received $100,000.00 towards the facility.
The donation was made by the Reynold and Nadia Benjamin Medical Foundation at a recent ceremony held at the hospital.
The project will be done in partnership between the foundation, Ministry of Health, St George’s University (SGU) and Grenlec at a cost of approximately $326,050.00.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Health, Clarice Modeste-Curwen said the money received from the foundation will go a long way in getting the unit up and running.
“We have always spoken about this and the Parliamentary Representative (Delma Thomas) has always been making demands (for) it and we have said, yes, but we just weren’t sure how it was going to happen with so many demands on the financial resources of the nation and especially in Health Care…”, she said.
The senior government minister was high in praise for the initiative of the foundation named after the Benjamin family that runs Benjamin Variety Stores in Grenville.
“(Here) comes this lady and her foundation and other supporters and they said we will help to finance it”, said Minister Modeste-Curwen in reference to the assistance being received.
“…We have all moved to do our part, we are working on the building and I know it’s going to cost quite a bit in excess of three hundred thousand. We have to do other things that you do not normally do in other buildings, like having the lead sheets and so, which have a significant cost to them as such.
“…So this gift (EC$100,000.00) here today will make a significant contribution to do that and maybe what we would have thought we had to spend and we may not have to spend can go towards doing other things to improve Princess Alice and health care in general.
The money that was donated to the hospital was made available by Roland Benjamin, the deceased son of foundation member, Nadia Benjamin, a former Parliamentarian herself.
On delivering the cheque to the Health Minister, Mrs. Benjamin said that her son who always saw his parents as persons who always gave back to society felt he had to leave something to the community before he left earth.
“Roland not only donated to Princess Alice for the X-RAY unit but also did a lot for the schools. Over 67,000 US dollars was spent on schools – some of them that he went to. He said that the schools fed his brain so he has to give back”, she said.
“…I’m very happy to be here today and to be able to make the presentation of this sum of money that he left to the Reynold and Nadia Benjamin Foundation,” she added.
According to Mrs. Benjamin, the foundation was established in honour of her late husband, Reynold Benjamin who was a regular patient at the Princess Alice Hospital.
She said he always expressed his desire for improved health care for the people of the parish of St. Andrew.
“…When we as senior citizens come to the hospital, we don’t want to see them come here to die, we want to say that we come here to take care of (them) because these are people who have made lots of contributions to the island,” she remarked.
Parliamentary representative for St. Andrew North-west, Social Services Minister, Delma Thomas expressed her gratitude for the contribution made by the foundation.
” I can recall last year when we assume office, I received a letter saying we the people of St Andrew are asking you the Parliamentary Representative and the other representatives to provide an X-ray unit, a Doctor’s quarters within the Princess Alice hospital.
“…We must be cognizant of the fact that St Andrew’s in itself is a really huge parish but we also go beyond St Andrew’s. St Patrick, St Mark and other nearby areas do come to Princess Alice to access medical care and therefore this is really the step in the right direction in providing those equipment and we will be working to ensure that we do much more because the health of our nation is really the wealth of our nation.
She also mentioned the signing of a contract with the relatively unknown Ray Wickham Construction for the building of the Doctor’s quarters at the hospital.
In relation to the X-Ray Unit and its functioning, Minister Modeste-Curwen announced that training has to take place and that a group of young people, mainly Imanis would be traveling to Guyana to receive training in X-Ray technician, Lab technician and Dental technician.
According to Minister Modeste-Curwen, the training would cost government over $300,000 but the government of Guyana will assist with tuition fees and other facilities for the trainees.