By Caribbean News Global contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia – Reporting on the status of St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project (SJHSP) in the House of Assembly Tuesday, November 16, 2021, prime minister Philip J Pierre, minister for finance, economic development and the youth economy, announced that, ‘the Review Committee’ previously alluded to September 14, 2021, has completed its assignment and handed over the final report en route to the parliament of Saint Lucia at the appropriate time.
However, said the prime minister, “there are some critical findings of note which need to be reported to honourable members”:
- The Review Committee estimates that the “new” hospital remains less than 30 percent complete. It would be impractical to work on the hospital while patients are housed on the bottom floor.
- The SJHRP Status Report dated July 29, 2021, and prepared by the National Authorizing Office (NAO) ministry of economic development has the cumulative expenditure on the SJHRP Phase 2 from commencement in February 2019 to July 2021, at EC$118.05 million. The status report also states that an amount, EC$89.3 million has been paid to date. In relation to the “new” hospital, the review committee found that there is no programme for the completion of any part of Phase 2 or “new” hospital to facilitate the transfer of the operations from the George Odlum Stadium to the St Jude Hospital into part or all of the lower level of Phase 2.
The prime minister noted that the management of the debilitating effects of COVID-19, in particular, the presence of the Delta variant has compounded the challenges faced by his government.
“Fortunately, we have managed to stabilize the in-country spread of the virus and initial indicators are that we are doing a lot better. We must, however, not drop our guard and remain vigilant by following the prescribed COVID- 19 protocols to avoid any resurgence of the virus,” the prime minister continued: The United Workers Party (UWP) government failed in its duty to provide healthcare to the people of the South by completing the construction of the St Jude hospital. That decision was deliberate callous and aimed at financially benefitting members of the administration and their friends.”
Prime minister Pierre further advised that: “ As we continue to aim, at providing adequate healthcare to the people of Saint Lucia we will complete the construction of the St Jude hospital 1st Phase, we will seek the engagement of PAHO to identify a senior-level Czar to coordinate and provide general oversight to the St Jude Hospital Reconstruction Project. And in the interest of accountability, said the prime minister, “we will also seek to find out if taxpayers’ funds were used in a prudent and honest manner in the construction of the so-called “new” St Jude hospital.”
Sustaining the gains achieved
Meanwhile reporting on sustaining the gains achieved in the management of COVID-19, the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs, November 15, 2021, said it “continues to manage the fourth wave in the country, from July 25, 2021, to present we note 7,308 cases at an average of 65 cases per day.”
In the management of the fourth wave, the minister reposts “we have also carried out over 33, 500 tests: 50 percent of the diagnosed cases are in the age group 25-49 years and 57 percent of the cases are female. […] During that period we note 180 COVID-19 deaths out of a total of 270 COVID-19 deaths, with a case fatality rate of 2.5 percent. Males account for 56 percent of the deaths.
On Tuesday November 16, 2021, the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs confirmed a total of seven new cases of COVID-19. To date, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the country is 207 and the total number of COVID-19 related deaths is 64.
These new cases bring the total number of cases diagnosed in the country to date to 12, 851. To date, a total of 44, 239 individuals have been fully vaccinated. Another 8, 698 are
partially vaccinated and 945 have received their booster shot.
Increase in social activities
The ministry of health noted that over the last three weeks “increase in social activities and large crowd activities contributing to increased cases,” cautioned, “we need to sustain the gains achieved in the management of the 4th wave in light of the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant circulating.”
“The Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccine are available at the various wellness centers and advertised sites. The booster Pfizer vaccine is also available for persons who have had both doses of the Astra Zeneca for over six months,” said the minister of health.