by STAFF WRITER
August 12, 2022
WASHINGTON, Aug 12, CMC -The World Bank is providing US$51 million credit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to held the island modernize its hospital services and build a more resilient and sustainable health infrastructure and system.
The Washington-based financial institution said the modernization includes the construction of a new acute care hospital and health sector reform. It said the project will benefit over 110,900 residents and about 350,000 tourists that visit the island each year.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, comprising 32 small islands and cays, is vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme weather events that destroy health care infrastructure and service facilities, and affect the entire population.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, and related outbreaks, such as increasing cases of dengue, hurricanes, and other climate-natural disasters, are disrupting the health system and worsening the economic and social conditions,” the World Bank said.
It said the project will support the country in strengthening the health sector to respond effectively to disease outbreaks, climate change and natural disaster effects, and help reduce the increasing burden of chronic diseases.
“Through this project, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will reinforce the health system’s adaptive capacity to create a safe, resilient and transparent environment for sustained health service delivery and improved hospital performance,” the World Bank said.
World Bank Practice Manager for Health, Nutrition, and Population for Latin America and the Caribbean, Michele Gragnolati, said “we are excited to support the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with this project that blends much-needed health sector infrastructure investment with system reform.
“This project will play a catalytic role in modernizing hospital services for generations to come while leveraging primary care and transforming the health system. This investment will provide accessible, high-quality hospital services to the population and reduce the need for costly overseas care.”
Additionally, the World Bank said the new hospital will “incorporate a climate-resilient structure to ensure continuity of operations during climate events.”
It will also consider measures for lightning strikes, high-speed winds from hurricanes, and energy and water management, the World Bank said.
It said the design of the hospital also includes energy efficiency measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and standardization of building materials, use of renewable sources of energy, and energy-saving approaches for lighting.
Earlier this week, Finance minister Camillo Gonsalves told a news conference the total project is estimated at US$98 million, with more than US80 million going towards the construction of the hospital and purchasing of necessary equipment.
He said authorities had hoped to have money in hand before the volcano erupted but the decision was subsequently made after discussions with the World Bank to allocate monies instead to the Volcanic Eruption Emergency Response.
“A deferral of a few months ended up being a deferral of about a year,” he said.