Saint Lucia: Thirteen wellness centres have been retrofitted as part of a SMART project by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The Comfort Bay Senior Citizens’ Home and the New Beginnings Transit Home for Children were ceremoniously handed over to the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment; At the same time, the Vieux Fort, Bexon, Entrepot, La Fargue, Laborie, Monchy, Mongouge, Richfond, Saltibus and Ti Rocher (Castries) wellness centres were presented to the Ministry of Health. Plans for the La Clery Wellness Centre were also presented to the Ministry of Health at the handover ceremony, which happened at the Monchy Wellness Center.
Principal Nursing Officer, Julietta Frederick-Cassius, said the addition of the SMART centres bolsters the country’s healthcare capabilities.
“SMART facilities stand out from the rest in that they are environmentally friendly and resilient to natural disasters. They also mitigate the effects of climate change in that the buildings can withstand climatic conditions that allow them to continue operations by providing continuity of services following a disaster,” Nurse Cassius explained.
The Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment, Hon. Joachim Henry reflected on the importance of access to healthcare.
“As we learn from this exchange, it is important to think of how our people access these facilities because social justice suggests that it is not how well our buildings are placed but to what extent our people can access the services that are being provided,” the minister said. “Therefore, I need to speak to the initiative of the Ministry of Health and stir support toward achieving our national health insurance mandate.”