The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment held a Community Health Services Award of Excellence Cocktail Ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Residence on May 7th 2022. The award ceremony saw different health care workers given tokens of appreciation for their hard work and for going beyond the call of duty, especially during the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic and the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.
Medical officer of Health Dr. Roger Duncan said the ceremony was not enough to repay the health care personnel for their hard work but it was a tangible way for his ministry to show their appreciation.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Environment, Cuthbert Knights echoed more thanks to the health care workers noting that they blossomed during the pandemic and showed immense courage. He urged the workers to continue to work in unison for the betterment of the health care sector.
Minister of Health Hon. St Clair Prince noted that there are many dedicated Health Care Professionals whose work go unrecognized and this is an opportunity for them to feel appreciated especially having gone through the La Soufriere eruptions and still working through the pandemic.
Also addressing the Awards Ceremony was Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who explained that many times health care providers are blamed for many issues over which they have no control and insisted that health is a shared responsibility of which people must take individual responsibility and accountability.
Dr Gonsalves said the Government remains committed to nurses and quality nursing education, providing trainees with stipends so they can get their professional education; It is this same education which gives them opportunities regionally and internationally while at the same time government has to ensure there are enough nurses to meet demands locally.
Dr Gonsalves went on to say that the health care system is one which has many successes as Primary Health Care is accessible and free with 39 clinics and 3 polyclinics, there is one hundred per cent immunization of children under the age of 5 years and the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital is the hub for the World Pediatric Project for the OECSwhere consultations and surgeries are done for children.
The Prime Minister said the Smart Hospitals and the Modern Diagnostic Centre at Georgetown are all hallmarks of the health sector and though there are gaps at the tertiary health care level, the 82-million-dollar, state of the art, Acute Referral Hospital will fill that gap with construction on the hospital scheduled to commence in January of 2023.
The awards ceremony is just the first in a series to recognize Health Care workers in St Vincent and the Grenadines.