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Phase Two of Smart Health Care Facilities about to begin

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The Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the UK Department for International Development are ready to commence Phase II of the SMART Health Care Facilities in the Eastern Caribbean Project.

On Thursday, August 31, the Ministry, the project supporting partners and stakeholders held a technical and kick-off meeting to officially commence work at the Chateaubelair Hospital. At the meeting, PAHO also introduced Franco Construction as the contractor for the project and gave the conditions for the implementation of the project.

Phase II of the SMART Health Care Facilities in the Eastern Caribbean Project officially commenced on June 10, 2015 and is being implemented in Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, and Belize over a period of five years, to June 2020.

The project is being financially supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented through the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Department, in partnership with the Ministry of Health in each target country.

On September 1 and 2, the Ministry of Health convened back-to-back town hall meetings in Union island and Mayreau respectively to discuss with residents the planned retrofitting of the Union island Hospital and the Mayreau Health Centre.

An overview of the project components was presented at both meetings by the local focal point for the project, health planner David Latchman, who said “the aim of the project is to support the Governments of the selected Caribbean countries to assess and prioritize vulnerability reduction investments in their health facilities. The support provided by DFID will allow us to ensure that critical health facilities in the Caribbean are safer and are incorporating green practices that will allow them to adapt to the effects of climate change, already evident in the region.”

At least seven health facilities in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be retrofitted to help reduce the down time and potential damage to the facility in the event of a disaster. The interventions will also reduce operational expenditure with water and energy management improvements and ensure energy and water security to support continuous health care delivery in the event of a major disaster.

The discussions on the initial design was facilitated by Ronnie Lettsome and Alex Williams, PAHO consultants, while brief remarks were made by Anneke Wilson, PAHO in country specialist and Dr Audrey Gittens, director of special projects in the Ministry of Health.

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