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A European Union delegation traveled to Saint Lucia yesterday and their first scheduled stopover was at the Owen King EU Hospital (OKEUH). Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska, European Union Ambassador to Barbados, Eastern Caribbean States, OECS, Caricom and Cariforum, officially visited OKEUH for the first time since her accreditation as Ambassador .
She was accompanied by Mr Brian Glynn – Director General Americas, European External Action Service, Ms Myriam Ferran – Deputy Director General, International Partnerships and Ms Olga Baus – Team Leader for the Caribbean, Union International Partnerships European Union (EU) headquartered in Brussels. The visiting delegation also included three other members of the Barbadian Embassy.
The visit to the hospital led the delegation to the physiotherapy and dialysis departments, the pediatric ward and the surgery and central sterilization operating theater departments.
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The agenda was designed with strict COVID-19 prevention protocols in mind and kept short, but long enough for the delegation to witness full use of the facility.
OKEUH was built by the EU and officially unveiled in 2016 by then Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and it was named after a renowned Saint Lucian, Dr. Charles Owen King.
In March 2020, the hospital was finally operationalized as the island’s first secondary healthcare facility.
OKEUH is now one of three facilities that make up the Millennium Heights Medical Complex, which is led by General Manager Siobhan James-Alexander and governed by a Board of Directors of which Mr. Costello Michel is Chairman.
During the tour, Ambassador Wasilewska thanked the Minister of Health, Welfare and Seniors Affairs, Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste, for having accompanied his team “to see this fabulous hospital that we [are] extremely, extremely proud of”.
She added, “[It is] a fine example of assistance from the peoples of the European Union (27 countries) to the people of Saint Lucia. It is moving to see how wonderful the facilities are and what they offer to the people of this beautiful island. The Ambassador was thrilled to see what the hospital means to the lives of medical staff and patients, as she took the time to interact with clinicians.
Ms. Myriam Ferran also expressed immense satisfaction with the functioning of OKEUH. She said: “I am impressed with the high level of technicality, the equipment that we were able to see, the dedication of the staff and the way the hospital is run.”
Ms Ferran added: “My expectations were high, but… what I see… has superseded reality. It is the testimony of the will of the European Union to cooperate with the government of Santa Lucia… I am really proud to see the impact of this cooperation for the benefit of the citizens of the island.
Permanent Secretaries Mr. Claudius Emmanuel and Ms. Jenny Daniel from the Department of Economic Development and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Elderly Affairs also accompanied the EU delegation on the tour, as well as d Other Saint Lucia Government Officials.
The activity ended with Minister Jn Baptiste expressing his outlook for the future of OKEUH: “I feel very honored to be the servant at this time that will make the project continue to excel. Now that we occupy the hospital, the buildings, we have to continue to work on the other aspects to make sure… that this hospital functions at a level that we can be proud of.
He added: “I am honored by the kind of responsibility I now have as Minister to ensure that we take this project to greater heights.
Source: Millennium Heights Medical Complex
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