International agencies present new ambulance to Ministry of Health

    Presentation ceremony, left to right, Minister of Health, Hon. Akilah Byron-Nisbett, with keys for the new ambulance; while Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreigh Affairs, Kaye Bass; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Delores Stapleton-Harris, look on.
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    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, expressed profound thanks to St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross Society, which partnered with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the United States Agency for International Development to deliver a brand new ambulance to the Ministry of Health on February 24, at the Joseph N. France General Hospital grounds.

    “On behalf of the Ministry of Health, and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the United States Agency for International Development for this significant donation,” said Mrs, Byron-Nisbett, at the presentation ceremony. “I also wish to convey our profound gratitude to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and to Hester Rawlins executive of St. Kitts and Nevis Red Cross Society for such humanitarian foresight.”

    Dr. Delores Stapleton Harris, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.

    Hon. Byron-Nisbett said that their strong collaborative technical support and the overall vital role they played from the conceptualization of the gift, the engaged enthusiastic discussions, and the persevering actions and engagement with the key stakeholders brought the project to fruition. “We are so very grateful for your commitment.”

    Mrs. Byron-Nisbett noted that the receipt of the ambulance is timely and important for the Ministry of Health as it will help the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.

    “Such an addition to the existing fleet of ambulances ensures that there is an adequate first respondent mechanism for nationwide medical emergencies,” she said. “Having a large number of EMTs is simply not enough. There must also be the required vehicular capacity to respond in a timely manner.

    “With the addition of the new ambulance, the health system will be better able to have an ambulance stationed at the two main satellite institutions, the Mary Charles Hospital and the Pogson Medical Centre,” said Mrs. Byron-Nisbett.

    The new ambulance parked near the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
    Interior of the new ambulance.

    Minister Byron-Nisbett said these ambulances are well equipped and can safely and properly transport to and between hospitals.

    She emphasized the importance of the build out of ambulances to the rural areas as persons will no longer have to wait on an ambulance to be deployed from the Joseph N. France General Hospital in Basseterre or the Pogson Medical Centre in Sandy Point.

    “This is indeed exciting, and this gesture is such a very good way to commence the year, building our health capacity during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” she said.

    According to Hester Rawlins, Director General of the SKNRCS, who also spoke at the presentation ceremony, the donation was possible through the generous funding of the American people through USAID.

    “This fully-equipped ambulance was donated as a part of the COVID-19 response project, partially funded by the United States of America,” said Rawlins. “A similar donation of a passenger bus was presented to our National Society as we endeavour to assist the most vulnerable members of our communities, while we strengthen our axillary role to government during these trying times.”

    Also, at today’s ceremony, USAID gifted a brand new passenger bus to the SKNRCS.

    Dr. Stapleton-Harris stated that the gesture demonstrates USAID’s continued commitment to countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis. She added that it allows the ministry to honour its commitment to provide an improved healthcare system in a holistic manner for the entire population.

    She noted that ambulance services are critical to the urgent response to medical and trauma-related emergencies.

    “In fact, it is a mandatory 24/7 service. Thus it is envisaged that such an expanded fleet would provide a more efficient emergency medical service, emergency intervention, and timely transport of patients in a variety of situations and environments,” she said. “Undoubtedly, such a system will increase the overall efficiency of our health care service and improve the health outcomes of our people. This is a very strong demonstration in a very tangible manner of strong partnership and genuine concern on the part of USAID and so we are very grateful.”

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