Construction work on the European Union funded $7.4 million health facility to serve the residents of St. Mark and St. John’s, is soon to get of the ground on the site that once housed the Gouyave Health Centre.
This followed the official contract signing between the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Implementation and the construction firm, Quingdao Fuhaiyang Construction Group Caribbean Ltd. Last Friday’s session also included a sod turning ceremony on site signaling the commencement of construction work on the project expected to last for sixteen months.
The ceremony was attended by several senior government officials, including Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Health Minister Nickolas Steele, Tourism Minister Dr. Charice Modeste, officials from the Ministry of Works, Parliamentary Representative for St. John Alvin DaBreo, Ministry of Health officials and members of the St. Mark and St. John’s constituencies.
Architect in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Implementation Ms. Lorna Charles was also present and gave an outline of the project.
According to her the project, which has been dubbed a smart project, is designed to improve the quality and scope of primary health care in Grenada. She noted that the building is designed to function immediately after a natural disaster and built to meet green building standards.
Charles said the three-story building would be equipped with operational equipment, medical equipment and furnishing. It would include emergency rooms, maternity rooms, X Ray, operating theatre, including disabled access and mechanical lifts.
The state of he art facility will be sponsored by the European Union, which was represented by Mr. Luis Maia, Head of Development Cooperation Delegation of the EU to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM/CARIFORUM. In his brief address, he noted that the commencement of construction work on the health center after years in the planning stage is a significant moment for the health sector in Grenada. He further noted that the project would be the flagship project of the revitalized National Primary Health Care Program.
Funding for the EU through a budget support program for the health sector would provide the project, according to Maia, valued at four million Euros. He noted that one of the expected results of the project, would be improvement in the key areas of services provided with respect to development, through a comprehensive integrated sustainable and efficiently managed primary healthy care service delivery system.
Maia said the Gouyave Health Centre represent the model of service delivery envisaged internationally. He further commended the Grenada Government and all who have worked to get the project to its present stage and gave the assurance that the EU would continue to support health sector reform in Grenada.
Also addressing last Friday’s gathering was Parliamentary Representative for St. Mark and former Minister for Health, Dr. Clarice Modeste Curwin who embraced the project as having finally arrived.
Having played a significant role in lobbying for the realization of the project, Modeste said it would provide long awaited service to the residents of St John, St Mark and surrounding areas.
Modeste noted that the facility would go a long way in alleviating the burden on the General Hospital especially in the areas of accidents and emergency. She therefore implore the would be users of the facility to make good use and take advantage of the services provided
Also welcoming the project was Parliamentary Representative for St Johns Hon. Alvin Da Breo who noted that it would go a long way in easing some of the burden not just on the General hospital but on the resident of St Johns and St Mark who from time to time have to travel to St George’s to seek medical attention.
Health Minister Nickolas Steele in his address noted that once completed the facility is expected to provide quality integrated primary health care services to the residents in the areas it is destined to serve. These he said includes, access to dentistry, nutrition, health promotion, pharmaceutical, mental counseling among others, thus increasing access to affordable health service especially for the vulnerable population including women and children.
It is the hope of Minister Steele that the facility would see improvement in the management of care, through the strengthening of primary health care teams and empowerment of he people.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell also welcomed the project and commended all who played a role in getting the project to this point particularly the EU for their financial support and the people for their patience over the years.