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St. Kitts: Citizens, residents respond to construction of climate smart hospital

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By Devonne Cornelius

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The anticipated construction of a brand new hospital in St. Kitts is receiving mixed feedback from citizens and residents of the Federation.

Recent callers to WINN FM used the opportunity to express their views and opinions on the construction of a new hospital.

One caller said, “I am just asking them to take a serious look at how they are going to finance that hospital without adding that heavy burden to the national debt. “Fifty million dollars is a lot of money to put on the national debt all at once.”

“If you’re going to build the hospital, build it out of the CBI [Citizenship By Investment] money…the hospital we have is functioning, you know…,” another caller added.

“We don’t want a new hospital. Look we have an old hospital at the back [of the existing hospital]. It just needs refurbishing…we want trained people, new doctors and nurses. If they are not paying them enough money, pay them more money and let them do their work; if they do not want to work, send them home,” another caller stated. 

If anything needs periodic upgrading and reconstruction, it’s a hospital because it serves the whole community and our population might grow…there would be so many changes in the delivery of healthcare, both in terms of technology and the science and so on. There are even more increasing demands for improved customer service. Added to that, if health tourism is to become more important, you’d expect a world-class facility, and similarly, if the hospital is to become a full-blown accredited teaching hospital, again, you’d expect world-class standards, so this “touching around the areas’ I don’t think is good enough. To upgrade the existing facility would cost almost as much as a new hospital, so I think it’s best that we go the route of a new hospital. 

Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, recently announced the government’s intention to construct a new hospital and announced that a possible site has already been identified. He said the construction of the new hospital is not a choice but rather a necessity. 

“We need a smart hospital meaning climate-smart and one that is technologically driven. Why do we need a smart hospital? With the changes in the climate, we are expecting stronger hurricanes, more dry seasons, and the insidious changes that will take place, so the hospital that we have, based on what is taking place with the climate, is not in good stead to withstand that so this is not even a choice that we have in the matter. 

The hospital where we’re at. If we were to do some repairs there, as persons were suggesting, when you look at the scope of work of the upgrades that will be required, you might be running into a cost that can almost approach the cost of a new hospital,” said Prime Minister Dr. Drew. 

Prime Minister Dr. Drew said the building of the structure without the equipment would cost in the region of US$23 million and another US$10 to US$15 million to add the necessary medical equipment. The government is looking at various sources of funding, with one of them being a concessionary loan at a low-interest rate with a grace period of three to five years. 

“So we have a good source of funding of about US$50 million, which is a good concessionary loan which gives us that period of time in which we can pay it back,” Prime Minister Dr. Drew added. 

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