New Buccament Polyclinic opens
The Buccament Polyclinic is the fourth health facility to be opened in three weeks, as the Ministry of Health continues to roll out it’s modernisation of the health sector programme.
The official opening ceremony for this country’s third polyclinic took place on Monday at the polyclinic, which is located in close proximity to the Buccament Bay Secondary School.
It is the second polyclinic to be built using funds from the European Union, with the first being the one in Marriaqua at the Levi Latham Health Complex.
“…Someone called me and said to me that they notice we opening healthcare facilities these days. You know like how mushrooms spring up overnight, ” Luke Browne, the health minister said at Monday’s ceremony. “Even though it seems like we’re opening these facilities like mushrooms, a lot of planning and a lot of hard work in project implementation execution actually went into it.”
Browne said that high quality healthcare facilities were being opened and that great things were happening in the sector.
He also said that the ministry was complying with goals set by the Pan American Health Organisation to achieving by 2030, a reduction of at least 30 per cent of barriers that hinder access to healthcare.
“One of the barriers to accessing healthcare are geographical barriers,…. So by bringing this closer to you, it is going to be more likely for you to be able to access the services at this facility,” Browne said. “One of the barriers you might also confront is the barrier related to how comprehensive the services provided at a healthcare facility near you are. And to help you overcome that barrier, we are going to make sure that this clinic is true to its name, the name polyclinic, by offering a wide range of services from which you can benefit.”
Included in the facilities at the Buccament Polyclinic are five consultation rooms, a pharmacy, lab facilities, dentistry and ophthalmology spaces, a lecture hall, nursing stations, a full delivery suite and maternity wing.
Browne said that an ambulance is also stationed at the polyclinic.
David Latchman, the Health Planner said that compared to the current clinic facility in Buccament, the polyclinic brings a significant level of improvement.
“The two floors of facility I am sure will indeed serve the people of this area well by bringing closer to them, the services that will allow them to stay in their own communities and be diagnosed, treated or to be referred and transported to one of the many other treatment option facilities, providing for the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines by the ministry of Health and by extension, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Latchman said.
He said that the designs for the health facilities being opened were completed by professionals at the Ministry of Transport and Works, with the contract being carried out by Franco Construction Ltd.
José Legarra, the programme manager for the European Union Delegation to Eastern Caribbean countries also delivered remarks at the opening ceremony.
On behalf of his delegation, Legarra expressed joy in participating in the opening of the polyclinic.
He said the opening was a culmination of years of work by the entities involved and that the European Union is proud to contribute to the wellness and social development of the people.
“The 15,000 souls of the Buccament community are already benefitting from the better access to quality services comparable to those of Kingstown, at a cost of EC$4.5 million. This polyclinic is providing emergency in-patient primary and speciality care that which so far, were only available at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital,” he said.
Legarra said that combined with the polyclinic in Marriaqua, through support from the EU, this country can boast of the spread of healthcare services across the island.
In his feature address, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told persons that what is being done by the government in the health sector is for the overall wellbeing of the people in the country.
And he added that a plan for community health services are laid out in the 2019 Estimates.
“We estimate that the number of consultancies in which we will do at all the clinics is 2,500. The number of patients who are expected to be seen, we expect 73,000 because we have the records of people who come and people who use the services. How you tell me that people don’t want to come to the clinic and we have the numbers?” Gonsalves said.
He declared that the health sector in St Vincent was an industry, employing just over 1,100 persons in that sector alone.
The Prime Minister also shared some of his time with Orando Brewster, the ULP hopeful for the Central Leeward seat in the upcoming general elections.
Brewster, who was greeted with loud cheers and applause said that the government has done a lot for the community of Buccament. And he urged constituents to acknowledge the value added by the polyclinic and to take care of the facility.