A European Union delegation visited Saint Lucia yesterday and their first scheduled stop was at Owen King EU Hospital (OKEUH). Her Excellency Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador for the European Union to Barbados, Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, Caricom and Cariforum, officially toured OKEUH for the first time since her accreditation as ambassador.
She was accompanied by Mr. Brian Glynn – Managing Director Americas, European External Action Service, Ms. Myriam Ferran – Deputy Director General, International Partnerships and Ms. Olga Baus – Team Leader for the Caribbean, International Partnerships of the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels. The visiting delegation also included three other members from the embassy in Barbados.
The hospital tour took the delegation to the Physiotherapy and Dialysis departments, Pediatrics Ward and Central Sterilization Surgical and Operating Theatre departments.
The agenda was designed considering strict COVID-19 prevention protocols, and remained short, but was extensive enough for the delegation to witness the 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 operationalised as the island’s premier secondary health facility.
OKEUH is now one of three facilities that make up Millennium Heights Medical Complex, which is headed by Chief Executive Officer Siobhan James-Alexander and governed by a board of directors of which Mr. Costello Michel is Chairman.
During the tour, Ambassador Wasilewska thanked Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Hon. Moses Jn Baptiste, for accompanying her team “to see this fabulous hospital that we [are] extremely, extremely proud of”.
She added, “[It is] a great example of assistance of the people of the European Union (27 countries) to the people of Saint Lucia. It’s moving to see how wonderful the facilities are and what they offer to the people of this beautiful island.” The ambassador was delighted to see what the hospital means to the lives of medical staff and patients as she took some time to interact with clinicians.
Ms. Myriam Ferran also expressed immense satisfaction with the operations of OKEUH. She said, “I am impressed by the high level of technicity, of the equipment we have been able to see, by the dedication of the staff, and by the way the hospital is managed.”
Ms. Ferran added, “My expectations were high, but…what I am seeing…superseded the reality. This is the testimony of the European Union’s will 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.”
Also accompanying the EU delegation during the tour were Permanent Secretaries Mr. Claudius Emmanuel and Ms. Jenny Daniel from the Department of Economic Development and Ministry of Health Wellness and Elderly Affairs respectively, alongside other officials from within the Government of Saint Lucia.
The activity ended with Minister Jn Baptiste expressing his outlook for the future of OKEUH: “I feel very honoured to be the servant at this time who will cause the project to continue to excel. Now that we are occupying the hospital, the buildings, we have to continue to work on the other aspects of ensuring…that this hospital is working at a standard which we can be proud of.”
He added, “I am humbled by the kind of responsibility I have now as minister to ensure that we take this project to higher heights.”
Source: Millennium Heights Medical Complex