Below is an address by Honourable Alvina Reynolds, Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations at the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Entrepot Health Centre on Monday, January 14, 2013.
My government’s plans for the health sector in St. Lucia are based on six major objectives which are outlined in the 2011 Blue Print for Growth.
The first objective clearly refers to “The strengthening of Primary Health Care at the community level.”
The Ministry of Health, wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations is committed to improving access of all residents to quality health care services in a comfortable, safe and conducive environment.
That’s why today we are pleased to be able to reopen this newly renovated facility to continue the delivery of health care to the residents of Entrepot, Marchand and surrounding communities in the Castries East Constituency.
To the Parliamentary Representative Hon Philip J Pierre, staff of Entrepot and Health Centre, residents and persons who access health services at the facility, we wish to thank you for your patience and cooperation which you exhibited during the renovation period.
Renovation on this facility commenced in February 2012 and we know it may have been difficult for you as you serve a fairly large population especially since the decommissioning of the Marchand Health Centre and the relocation of services to Entrepot.
We also wish to express thanks to the owner of our temporary facility where the health services were delivered during this period.
We are truly grateful to the World Bank for financing this project and the staff of the Project Coordinating Unit for coordinating, guiding, consulting and of course adding pressure to ensure this work was completed in a timely and efficient manner.
At the Ministry, we share of the view that significant investments which are made to physical infrastructure must be supported with similar investments in other health systems such as: Human resources, Health Information systems, preventative maintenance, referral networks, strengthening of prevention and promotion initiatives and reintroduction of the community mental health programme.
The Ministry of health will continue to work diligently to ensure these systems are implemented within the period of time identified through our planning process.
Speaking of investments in other health systems, I am sure most of you became aware of Cabinet’s decision as it pertains to supporting junior doctors in their quest to become specialist consultants in various fields such as psychiatry, oncology, gynecology and obstetrics. These investments are all in an effort to deliver quality health care for all citizens.
I wish to encourage residents of Entrepot, Marchand and surrounding areas to make use of this facility and the wide range of services which are offered here. These include: Sexual and Reproductive health including ante natal and post natal services, family planning services, Child and Adolescent Health Services including Immunization, Child Development assessments, School health and Teen Health, Chronic Non Communicable Diseases Management and Prevention, Communicable diseases.
Weekly Diabetes and Hypertension clinics, Foot care, Physical Activity Programme, Community Screening, Walk in service, I am also pleased to announce that this facility is the only Health Centre in the north which is equipped to offer A Hearing Health Care Clinic, school health and screening for school children in the north.
I also encourage you to work along with staff and take care of them as they take care of you. It is through education, partnership and collaboration that we can achieve better health for all. In the coming months, we look forward to the formal opening of the Babonneau Health Centre and the expansion of the La Guerre Health Centre. We are also responding to the urgent situations in Ti Rocher, Micoud and Dennery.
The MOH wishes to you Minister Pierre, Permanent Secretary and the staff of your Ministry of Infrastructure for the vital role which your ministry played in the renovation process. We look forward to better communication and collaboration between staff of our departments as we persevere to achieve timely completion of facilities and the continuation of services in health to the population.
We all know that the issues of health are like no other. When other services can wait for one hour, a sick and pained individual in any traumatic situation cannot and should not wait one minute. That is why is so important for this collaboration before decision are taken as it pertains to repairs, designs and building of health care facilities.
To the staff of Entrepot Health Centre I encourage you to continue to educate, teach, preach, using various creative strategies to bring about positive behaviour change in the lives your service users. We need to develop healthier lifestyle practices. Diet, Exercise, exposure to smoke, alcohol and illegal drugs, regular screening and testing for early detection and early interventions to be undertaken. When all these are done, it will surely be less stressful, we would save much more money and spend less time at a health care facility.
No child (in the womb and outside), no woman, no man should be left out when it comes to better health. It is a basic need and of course your right as a citizen. But health care is first of all a personal decision, personal responsibility we can do so much to prevent life style diseases.
Today, I implore all of you here and all St. Lucians to take the necessary steps to protect your health…Physical, Mental, Psychological/Emotional (less violence interactions), Sexual and Spiritual. Work with your caregivers, ask questions, get involved in the preventative programmes and activities. This will ultimately help us achieve our goal of a healthier nation.