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Minister of Health, Clayton Burgin. (File photo)
Minister of Health, Clayton Burgin. (File photo)

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 21, IWN — The Ministry of Health will in two months begin refurbishing the hospital in Bequia and the Clare Valley health centre as its upgrade of healthcare facilities across the country continues.

Minister of Health, Clayton Burgin, said in Bequia on Monday that the work, amounting to about $400,000, will be undertaken in partnership with the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).

He also announced scholarship opportunities for healthcare professionals.

He further said that while there will be some disruption to the regular services when construction begins in Bequia and Clare Valley, his staff “will make every conceivable effort to ensure that the critical services remain and will also make temporary arrangement to accommodate all available services.

“I therefore urge all residents of Bequia and Clare Valley to work in harmony with my officials to ensure that the improvements can be realised that there will be some measure of understanding for the inevitable discomfort,” he said at the handing-over ceremony of the Port Elizabeth Clinic.

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Residents of Buccament Bay used placards two weeks ago to express displeasure about the situation there.
Residents of Buccament Bay used placards two weeks ago to express displeasure about the situation there.

“I am confident that my officials and the BNTF team and the project steering committee will work to minimise disruption and to have the project competed on schedule.”

He further said the Port Elizabeth Clinic “forms part of the wider plan to refurbish and streamline the functional components of the operation between the clinic and hospital.

“The clinic as strategically built first so that at least some of the services could be maintained while work is effected on the hospital itself.”

The first phase, he said, cost over $700,000 and the hospital construction component is expected to cost more than $1 million and scheduled to begin in the next two months.

Burgin further announced that the Lowmans Windward Clinic will be declared officially open in two weeks.

He said a doctor’s quarters will be constructed in Canouan to ensure presence of a medical officer on the island at all time.

The clinic at Buccament Bay.
The clinic at Buccament Bay.

Further, full staff quarters will be constructed on Union Island to provide accommodation for a doctor, nurses and a pharmacist.

Repair work on health clinic and nurses quarters in Mayreau will begin next week.

He said major rehabilitation of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and a complete refurbishing of Mental Health Centre will be undertaken — an investment of EC$5.84 million.

A polyclinic will also be built in Marriaqua and Buccament, respectively.

“All of these require the building of capacity and in this regard,” Burgin said, adding that 13 persons have received awards and are pursuing training at the undergraduate and post graduate levels in specialised areas to support the current expansion of services.

In addition, 37 nurses have been awarded scholarships and began their training this year, leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing.

“In addition, in approximately six weeks, my Ministry will again advertise 10 scholarships in other specialised and priority areas to support the critical services being provided by our 16 functional departments,” Burgin said.