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Contact: Rose Marie Harris

Thursday, April 10, 2003 – “A healthy work force is one of the major factors that contribute to increasing economic productivity,” that’s according to Prime Minister, Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony as he delivered this years budget presentation. According to Prime Minister Anthony, the economic costs of avoidable disease as well as the cost of provision of health care services, are staggeringly high and continue to rise with demographic changes and the increase in population.

“Disease reduces national productivity and annual incomes of society, the lifetime incomes of individuals and prospects for economic growth. Because disease weighs so heavily on economic development, investment in health is an important component of our overall development strategy,” the Prime Minister said.

In an effort to ensure that the Saint Lucian population continues to be a nation of healthy people, government will accelerate the work began on a number of areas within the health sector. Dr. Anthony says work will continue full speed ahead on the new psychiatric hospital and the new national hospital.

The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has agreed to finance the refurbishment of fifteen health centres to assist in strengthening the country’s human capital base in support of its broad social and economic development agenda. The project is part of Saint Lucia’s Economic Reconstruction Programme (ERP) approved by CDB to assist member countries to reposition their economies in light of the attendant fiscal and structural challenges they currently confront. The rehabilitation of the health centres is estimated to cost $9.471 million, of which approximately $1.515 million is the Government’s counterpart contribution. It is expected that the project will be approved at the CDB Board meeting in July this year.

According to the Prime Minister, “The project aims to enhance the efficiency of the physical operations of the health sub-sector, to increase the standard of delivery of health care and to provide vital information to the Ministry of Health, Human Services and Family Affairs on the physical condition of its facilities. This, in turn will facilitate the completion of a comprehensive current schedule of capital maintenance interventions with the corresponding budgetary proposals.”

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