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Saint Lucians to get new general hospital by 2012

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Contact: Julita Peter

Thursday, January 15, 2009 – Negotiations for the construction of a new general hospital are over. The government of St. Lucia signed the contract for the commencement of the hospital construction with the European Commission on Tuesday, January 13.

With intensive experience in hospital construction Italian-based construction firm, INSO, will be undertaking the project which is expected to cost just over one hundred and
fifty-five thousand Eastern Caribbean dollars.

Minister for Health, Honourable Dr. Keith Mondesir who was present at the signing, said the new general hospital, to be built along the millennium highway, will provide the opportunity for his ministry to deliver on government’s plans for an improved and comprehensive health services sector.

“This construction is coming at a time when we all know about the economies of the world. It will help us in all areas and I thank the European Union on behalf of my government and the people of Saint Lucia. The Ministry of Health will ensure that the architects deliver on time and deliver a quality product,” Dr. Mondesir added.

Recounting the successes and hurdles in the health services sector over the years, Prime Minister King who at one time served as Health Minister, commended the European Commission for its timely intervention. He also thanked the government of France, represented at Tuesday’s signing by Her Excellency Mrs. Michele Sauteraud, for its unwavering contribution to the development and promotion of health care services in
Saint Lucia.

“We thank the team for having delivered on what we consider to be the first step. The second step will be the actual commencement of the project which I challenged you to begin no later than February 23rd, this year, to coincide with our 30th anniversary of independence which I believe will be symbolic,” the Prime Minister noted.

Head of the European Commission delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Valeriano Diaz, said the European Commission understood the need for modern health care facilities in developing countries, and as such will ensure the project becomes a reality. He further stressed that the monies allocated for the construction of the facility were grant funds, which meant that the monies will not have to be repaid.

“The establishment of this new 122-bed general hospital, he said, has a tremendous impact on the provision of health care in Saint Lucia. Hopefully, it will facilitate the country's quest to achieve certain Millennium Development Goals. Given the proximity of OECS sub-regional countries, we hope that the hospital will also be utilized by patients from neighbouring countries requiring specific medical care.”

The new general hospital is expected to be completed by mid 2012, and will replace the island’s main hospital—Victoria Hospital—which was built over a century ago.

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