Despite opposition from health officials, plans are in the making for the construction of a health clinic in the Central Kingstown community of Redemption Sharpes.
The health facility will be constructed with funding made available through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) which Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves recently negotiated.
There are plans to build a polyclinic in Calliaqua and the reconstruction of the health facility in Paget Farm, Bequia.
But according to Gonsalves, who made the announcement during a press conference on Monday, November 20, the government was going to build a modern clinic in Sharpes.
He reminded the public however that the professionals within the Ministry of Health were not in favour of constructing a health facility in the said area.
“They say it is easy for the people to come down to go to the Accident and Emergency at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and similarly there is a big clinic in Kingstown,” Gonsalves said.
He explained however that every community, especially one the size of Redemption Sharpes needs to have the presence of a state facility.
For years he said, there were post offices throughout most communities in the country, but the need for postal services had since declined.
St Clair ‘Major’ Leacock, Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown has made numerous references and requests for a health facility in the community of Sharpes saying that there was a need for such a facility in that community.
In fact, in the lead up to the 2015 General Elections, Leacock told the people of Redemption Sharpes at a rally that should the New Democratic Party (NDP) form government, he would ensure that a poly clinic was constructed in that community.
His most recent bid was in Parliament in October 2022 when Health Minister St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince made it clear that Sharpes was not going to get a health clinic in the foreseeable future.
In response to a question from Leacock, Prince explained that based on the World Bank’s healthcare service classification and services scoping report, each health facility in the country wa equipped to provide a service to an area with a population of 2,900 people and that access to health facilities in the country was such that no one seeking medical services was required to travel more than five kilometres to access health care.
The health minister further said in his response then that the report indicated that the state of the health care system in the country and the health infrastructure, which included staffing, was adequate to provide health care to the people.
Prince added that residents of Central Kingstown had daily access to a district medical officer and clinics throughout the Kingstown Health Centre which he said was staffed with four registered nurses, a family nurse practitioner, one health nursing supervisor, and diagnostic facilities which were located centrally at the MCMH with specialist outpatient services at the same facility.