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Contact: John Emmanuel

Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - A multi-million dollar agreement that will give support to the island’s important health sector has been signed between the Government of St. Lucia and the European Commission. The signing of the Country Support Strategy and National Indicative Programme took place on Monday, July 29th, 2002, and will enable construction of the new general hospital, as part of a national initiative to revamp the health sector.

Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony says equitable access to social services including health care, is an important element of development policy. The new General Hospital, expected to cost some $60 million dollars is to become the centrepiece of a wider programme of health sector reform. Prime Minister Anthony says this will include the establishment of satellite health facilities island-wide and the development of appropriate health legislation.

“For its own part the Government of St. Lucia has given priority to the construction of a new hospital because existing infrastructure and equipment is aged and in many cases obsolete. The country’s health needs have grown to a point where adequate tertiary health care is a national, social and economic priority and frankly there has been too much patching, too much spontaneous response to crisis. We have reached a point where peace meal patching, renovation and extension are no longer viable approaches to providing sustainable health care services,” said Dr. Anthony.

The new hospital is being funded under various allocations coming from the European Union with the Government of St. Lucia providing the rest of the funding. The lack of a proper policy framework according to the head of the European Commission Delegation John Caloghirou, could render the multi-million dollar funding initiative ineffective. “No amount of funding can actually make a difference, unless it is used in the context of a comprehensive policy which works and to which the Government and particularly the Ministry of Health is committed to make it work and the entire government is prepared to make sure that its works,” noted Caloghirou.

Both parties have hailed Monday’s signing as an essential element in the drive for diversification of the economy, and the provision of adequate basic and social infrastructure.


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