Karla Berridge

Loop

St. Kitts and Nevis is the recipient of two field hospitals at the cost of 1.3 million US dollars, courtesy of the Humanitarian Assistance Programme of the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM).

A field hospital is a temporary hospital where emergency health services can be provided in the short and medium term to victims injured in epidemics, war and natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

The 40-bed health facility will be used to strengthen the Federation’s fight against the covid19 pandemic as more and more deaths are recorded daily.

The facility provides a negative pressure facility to isolate covid19 patients thus conferring another crucial health capability. It is equipped with patient rails, intravenous poles, mattresses and a generator.

It also has its own plumbing and water treatment system in accordance with the best international standards and practice and will allow for the deliverance of air-conditioned service to patients.

Referring to the handing over as historic, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris in addressing the ceremony to receive the field hospitals at the Warner Park Stadium on Wednesday, said this is an important first in the federation. He thanked the government of the United States of America for the generous donation and spoke of the significance of acquiring the 40-bed health facility.

He said these investments are part of the build-out of the ‘Life First’ strategy that the government has been advocating and represents further continuing efforts to strengthen the health system in St. Kitts and Nevis.

The field hospital will serve as an adjunct structure that meets hospital standards.

This was announced by the Minister of Health Akilah Byron Nisbett who said the identified placement of the field hospital to the respiratory ward of the Joseph N. France General hospital where covid19 affected patients are currently being accommodated, is strategic, as its placement allows easy access to any required specialized equipment as well as staff providing care.

She said the advancement of healthcare in St. Kitts and Nevis is a top priority for the Ministry of Health and they will utilize every possible means and capitalize on any meaningful opportunity to demonstrate the mission ‘People First and Quality always.”

Over the last two days, health practitioners and support staff have been undergoing training in the setting up and disassembling of the field hospitals.

The health minister used the opportunity to commend those who underwent the training aimed at further equipping them with additional first-responder skills.

“Undoubtedly, the Ministry of Health is grateful for the strong collaborative support and interests of the technical team who have participated in the critical training to familiarize and be equipped with knowledge of the new structure and its assembling and disassembling processes,” she said. “We are so very grateful for your commitment to this new learning experience certainly, and experience of skills which will bolster our healthcare system.”

United States Ambassador to Barbados, The Eastern Caribbean and the OECS Linda Taglialatela said “The field hospitals are the cornerstone of her county’s commitment to the health of their neighbours in this hemisphere.

“Our donation of this critically needed infrastructure will increase the ability of St. Kitts and Nevis to address the ongoing global pandemic and meet future challenges including natural disasters.”

She congratulated the federation’s officials for the work that has been done in managing the pandemic on the islands, noting that it is hoped the field hospitals will assist further in that regard.

“I am proud that our partnership is strong as ever… today is another step in our journey as we work together to end the pandemic…I certainly congratulate you on the high vaccine rate in St. Kitts and Nevis. If we each do our part, we can end the pandemic together.”

“We know that the medical beds these two field hospitals provide will help you continue your model management of covid19,” she said. “They will support you to deploy first-responders quickly to where they are needed and the United States will continue to stand with you to ensure our shared health and prosperity.”

The partnership between St. Kitts and Nevis and the US has been reciprocal as St. Kitts has hosted the Tradewinds exercise in 2015 and again in 2018.

In addition to the 40-bed capacity field hospitals, the United States Government has also generously donated three passenger vehicles, 16 computers and technical support equipment to the twin-island Federation.

The donation is valued at over US$1.5 million. The second field hospital will be commissioned in Nevis shortly.