Healthcare Workers Participate In Capacity Building Workshop

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St. Lucia – Healthcare workers in Saint Lucia participated in a two-day workshop from May 8-9, 2024 at Bel Jou Hotel, as Saint Lucia continues to receive much-needed assistance and expertise in healthcare from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The workshop was part of the “Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Metabolic Chronic Diseases”, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Taiwan and Saint Lucia in March 2023. The project aims to be one of the catalysts to improve the screening, prevention and management of diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease in Saint Lucia.

During the workshop, five seed trainers who received six weeks of training in Taiwan last year shared their knowledge with their peers, thereby magnifying the Ministry’s capacity to effectively implement its mandate to serve citizens effectively.

H.E. Peter Chia-Yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, congratulated the six seed instructors who travelled to Taiwan this week to attend six weeks of intensive training. He also extended appreciation to the five seed instructors who were trained last year, and also thanked Hon. Minister Moses Jn. Baptiste and his team, and Dr. Su and the three specialists from Cathay General Hospital.

“Your devotion is not only the driving force of our public health project, but also the assurances of success of Taiwan-Saint Lucia cooperation in the healthcare and medical sector,” Ambassador Chen said at the closing ceremony held on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

Ambassador Chen added that: “As an exemplary model of Taiwan-Saint Lucia partnership, over the past year, the Capacity Building Project has completed the training of policy-making personnel and five seed instructors. This project also organized six health education events and eighteen screening activities in communities with more than one thousand people involved. Today’s handing over of primary care equipment sets another milestone, and the tablets, height scales and test kits will empower the front-line staff in evidence-based practice.”

Hon. Moses Jn. Baptiste, Minister for Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, thanked the Government of Taiwan for its continued support, adding that the project has realized some tangible results over the past year, thereby bolstering the Ministry’s capacity and educating the populace.

“The project adopts a whole of society approach, through the creation of a health-promoting environment, and aims to provide opportunities for the engagement of health educators, nurses, doctors, hospital staff, NGOs, policymakers, and community members,” stated Hon. Jn. Baptiste. “Over the past year of project implementation, the presence of the project has been felt. Very early during project implementation, there were visible displays of health education at various health fairs and wellness centres. Health messaging on billboards on our highways could also not be missed, and the involvement of the project team in the roll-out of the ‘St. Lucia Moves’ initiative is commendable.”

Mr. John Lin, Project Manager from the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) in Saint Lucia, provided a progress report on the project, noting that the four-year project in now into its second year. He added that many people in the community remain undiagnosed.

“We emphasize the strengthening of the capability of prevention and control of metabolic chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension,” Lin said. “Our project covers Regions 5, 6, 7, 8A and 8B, but we are encouraging other staff from the Ministry of Health to work with us, no matter where you are.”

Cathay General Hospital has been serving Taiwan with quality healthcare for over 30 years. Dr. Che-Yi Su, who was one of four representatives from Cathay General Hospital at the closing ceremony, said the collaboration between Taiwan and Saint Lucia augurs well for citizens’ well-being.

“Undoubtedly, non-communicable chronic diseases have emerged as a global health crisis, affecting the well-being and quality of life of individuals in both Taiwan and Saint Lucia,” he said. “However, Taiwan’s healthcare system stands out for its efficiency, innovation and accessibility.”

Dr. Su added that: “With a robust infrastructure and a focus on preventive care, Taiwan has effectively managed chronic diseases and provided quality healthcare services to its citizens. It brings us great joy at Cathay General Hospital to share our strategies, particularly in metabolic chronic disease care, with our friendly nations. The collaboration between Taiwan and Saint Lucia sets a compelling example in this realm: it goes beyond merely the provision of equipment, and entails the sharing of knowledge and expertise.”

According to Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert, Senior Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory have contributed significantly to death in Saint Lucia for decades. She said that in 2019, non-communicable diseases contributed to 82% of total deaths on the island.

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