Government has signed a multi-million dollar contract with a Chinese company, Qingdao Fuhaiyang Construction Group Caribbean Ltd to build a Polyclinic for residents of the parishes of St. John and St. Mark.
A sod turning ceremony was held recently on the grounds of what was once the Gouyave Health Centre for the start of work on the facility that is being funded to the tune of EC $7 million by the European Union.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Health Nickolas Steele described the Polyclinic as “an equitable sustainable health service that responds to the needs of the population” through the provision of many different type of services.
“On completion this facility is expected to deliver quality integrated primary health care services to the residents of St. John’s, St. Mark’s and St. Patrick’s. These services include access to dentistry, nutrition, health promotion, pharmacy, mental health, counseling and health promotion services thus increasing access to affordable and good quality services, especially for vulnerable populations including our women and children and elderly, the unemployed and persons with disabilities,” he said.
According to Minister Steele, the new facility will support improvements in the management of care through strengthening of “primary health care teams and empowerment of the people thus recognising primary health care and community participation as essential for improving the wellness for individuals and the community in which they reside.”
Parliamentary Representative for St. John, Minister in the Ministry of Climate Resilence, Environment, and Fisheries, Alvin Dabreo urged health professionals to play their part in the success of the facility.
“We will be relying and working very closely with you Minister (Steele) to see this facility lives up to the expectation of being a premier health care facility for the people of the western corridor of our nation and this facility we know will have extended services which will cater to both the psychological and physiological needs of all our citizens on the western corridor…”, he said.
“…All of us know of course that whatever the system that you build with all the fancy infrastructure and technology, it is the people working in the system and with the technology that would make it successful, so, I would take the opportunity as I see all the nurses and the health practitioners here to make it known that you would have to play your part so that we on the western corridor would have excellent health facilities,” he added.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell who was also in attendance shared the sentiments of Minister Dabreo by stating the new health facility will only become the best if the people in it give out the best of themselves.
“Now, you can have the best facility, you can have the best hospital, the most modern facility and if you do not have the level of health care services, you still in trouble. I make the point many times when people say we must build this level of buildings, have this major improvement in the infrastructure, I say that’s fine but if you do that by itself and you do not move towards improving the quality of healthcare, you do not ensure that you have the right number of nurses and doctors to service the facility to deal with people’s care.
“If you do not have the mindset of the staff of the institution to care for people, no matter how much number of persons you have in the system, if we do not see an improvement in the level of care and interest in serving people, you still in trouble.