For several weeks now the committee planning the naming ceremony for the New National Hospital has been working assiduously to plan a ceremony fitting of the significant gift of the facility funded by the European Union. The Ministry of Health, and the Government of Saint Lucia, regards this occasion as a very proud and significant moment when the New National Hospital will officially assume the name of one of Saint Lucia’s most distinguished physicians, Dr. Owen King, and recognise the contribution of the EU in funding this state-of-the-art facility.
The New National Hospital is the largest infrastructural project ever executed by the European Union in the Eastern Caribbean. This ultra-modern treatment and care facility was funded to the tune of 167 million Eastern Caribbean dollars which includes both the construction and equipping of the hospital. After the naming ceremony tomorrow, Sunday February 21st, the New National Hospital will officially be known as the Owen King EU Hospital. Dwight Calixte, Commissioning Director for the New National Hospital, noted the Ministry of Health’s excitement about this activity which also forms part of the communication strategy for the new hospital.
“It is a christening, as it may, for our new facility. We will basically be welcoming our partners into our facility for the first time, to allow them to see what has been done and what has been promised,” Calixte said. He explained that the naming ceremony marks another step along the phases to be undertaken in realizing the eventual opening of the facility: “Presently we are looking at the testing phase of the facility, working towards certification ensuring that the mechanical, electrical, water systems of the facility are up to code and meet the standards for operation. That is our initial phase. Once the installation of the equipment is done, we will also have to go through a commissioning of that as well. Simultaneously we will look at the training and upgrading of skills, what we require to deliver the care and quality of service that we want to deliver at the facility. And then finally we will have the pinnacle for this facility which is the move of our actual departments and patients which will also happen in a phased approach.”
Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations, Hon. Alvina Reynolds, expressed her own excitement for this phase of the project noting the public’s anticipation for the eventual opening of the facility. “We have been working very hard towards realizing these final few phases of transitioning, and it’s heightened right now in the naming ceremony that is to happen on Sunday where officially this facility will be christened, you can call it that, and it’s no longer New National or Complex or whatever. We really want to say thank you to Dr. Owen King who has served Saint Lucia well but, more than that, say thank you to the EU and to create that excitement among the people of Saint Lucia that we are moving to another level,” Reynolds says.
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has been quoted as saying, “This is a monumental achievement for our country and its people. It sets a platform for better quality medical treatment for all Saint Lucians and a better means of delivery of healthcare. We say thanks to our friends of the European Union for realizing this national dream.”