Ministry of Health Collaborates with Williams Architectural to Introduce Air Conditioning to JNF

(L-R) Assistant Matron, Mrs. Sandra Lestrade-Caines; Director of Operations at J.N.F General Hospital, Ms. Lindsey Maynard; Director of Institutional-based Health Services, Dr. Jenson Morton; Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew; Mr. Victor Williams, Owner of Williams Architectural; Principal Nursing Officer, Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw; Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Daveen Wilkin; Matron of the Hospital and Director of Institution-based Nursing Services, Mrs. Kerry Williams-Tuckett; Nurse Manager for the Medical Ward Ms. Alrona McKoy.
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Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis – Prime Minister and Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, during his annual Christmas visit to the Joseph N. France (JNF) General Hospital, did a walkthrough of the medical and surgical wards on December 20, 2023 with JNF senior management and Mr. Victor Williams, Owner of Williams Architectural, who partnered with the Prime Minister’s Office to install air conditioning units for the first time in the medical and surgical wards.

(L-R) Assistant Matron, Mrs. Sandra Lestrade-Caines; Director of Operations at J.N.F General Hospital, Ms. Lindsey Maynard; Director of Institutional-based Health Services, Dr. Jenson Morton; Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew; Mr. Victor Williams, Owner of Williams Architectural; Principal Nursing Officer, Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw; Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Daveen Wilkin; Matron of the Hospital and Director of Institution-based Nursing Services, Mrs. Kerry Williams-Tuckett; Nurse Manager for the Medical Ward Ms. Alrona McKoy.

In attendance were key figures including Director of Institutional-based Health Services, Dr. Jenson Morton; Director of Operations at J.N.F General Hospital, Ms. Lindsey Maynard; Principal Nursing Officer, Dr. Rondalyn Dennis-Bradshaw; the Medical Chief of Staff, Dr. Daveen Wilkin; the Matron of the Hospital and Director of Institution-based Nursing Services, Mrs. Kerry Williams-Tuckett; Assistant Matron, Mrs. Sandra Lestrade-Caines; Nurse Manager for the Medical Ward Ms. Alrona McKoy.

Dr. Jenson Morton expressed delight in the completion of the project stating “We are very pleased to see this come to fruition. Now we know that all of the patients, especially the sickest patients in the hospital in the medical ward in particular and the surgical ward can now have temperature-controlled comfort whilst they are hospitalized. So that is one of the most wonderful gifts that we can give to them”.

Providing insight into the initiative’s origin, Mr. Victor Williams shared a personal connection, stating, “Just to give you a quick background, one of my extended family members was here in medical and it was kind of very hot and he asked me if I can do something about it. Well, there are two things I could have done, I could fret about it, or I could do something about it. So, we decided to do something about it. The air conditioning of the medical and surgical wards came about when a family member in the medical ward mentioned the discomfort due to heat. We decided to take action, and through a, we successfully negotiated and secured funding.”

Highlighting the transparency of the public-private sector partnership, Mr. Williams shared his decision to take action and successfully negotiate and secure funding for the project, “Our company Williams Architecture got in touch with one of our service providers, Carib Refrigeration. We negotiated a price and got it down to just over $100,000 and then I went to one of our philanthropic clients who of course prefers not to be named and was able to get 50% of the money”. He added, “I then went to the Prime Minister and said ‘I have 50% would you put 50’ and he said yes. Just for clarity and transparency, our 50% covered all of the material, all of the labour, and approximately 25% of the air condition unit.”

Emphasizing the project’s success, Mr. Williams encouraged other private sector entities to engage in similar partnerships for the collective benefit of the nation. He stated, I feel compelled to suggest that maybe some of my other private sector colleagues could consider private-public sector partnerships, it doesn’t have to be the hospital, it could be a health center, it could be a school, but whatever your wish is. My choice was health and my choice was the hospital because, many of you won’t know, but I have literally had maybe 10 or 11 surgeries and I know what it is like to wake up in a hospital and need that level of comfort.”
Prime Minister and Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew walking through the hallways of JNF General Hospital with Director of Institutional-based Health Services, Dr. Jenson Morton ( far left) and Mr. Victor Williams of Williams Architectural (immediate left), and senior management of JNF.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, expressed excitement for the project, fondly recalling his time at JNF General Hospital as “home.” He acknowledged that the partnership resulted in enhanced comfort for patients and emphasized the significance of a positive environment for recovery.

“I am elated to be back to my old home, the medical ward, where I spent a significant amount of time as a student, as a recent medical graduate, as a house officer and then later on as a specialist. So, in all of the health institutions I have spent the most time on this ward, and so, I feel like I am home” he stated.

“Working on this ward for a long period of time, heat had always been an issue. I remember sometimes we would tell the patients to bring a fan and the technician would hook up your fan, but the fan would be blowing hot air. You will see patients who have respiratory problems, cardiac issues, neurological issues, and a varying cluster of diseases and they would be complaining about the heat, and we know that when it gets too hot or there is increased humidity those conditions can worsen one’s medical condition”, said Dr. Drew.

Dr. Drew outlined plans for extending the project to other hospital wards and highlighted ongoing renovations across various areas at JNF Hospital. He affirmed the commitment to upgrading and modernizing facilities, including the introduction of a new 128-slide CT Scan machine and the construction of housing for a modern MRI.
“This is just one project. We are already changing the aesthetic because we want when people enter the hospital, that they enter in a good environment; that also helps to create the mindset for recovery. We are also transforming some areas in the back, the corridors, the roofing, the morgue area as well, and the grounds area as well, and we are going to be dealing with the roof in the early part of next year and reopening the private ward. So, we are doing a significant amount of work here” he stated.

He added, “also the construction for the housing of our MRI, our brand new most modern MRI, which will be implemented next year as well. So, we are not going to abandon JNF we will keep working to upgrade it and upgrade it. Even though we are going to build the new hospital this building will be preserved because it is going to be part of the assets of our medical apparatus so that our patients can have multiple options and we can modernize our system more and more.”

In closing, Prime Minister Drew underlined the importance of partnerships in achieving the nation’s healthcare goals.

“This is not just a government issue this is a national issue and if we partner we can seek to create the best institution when it comes to health that we can create, and create a model for others to emulate, and so I can’t say thank you enough and for to look forward to doing more for our people here in Saint Kitts and Nevis as we partner to bring about the best conditions,” concluded Prime Minister Drew.

He reiterated the commitment to creating a resilient and adaptive healthcare system, aligned with the Federation’s Sustainable Island State mandate and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“As we build towards our Sustainable Island State, healthcare is of course one of the cornerstones, and we have to make sure that we fulfill the sustainable development goals when it comes to healthcare and we are on our path to doing that. Climate change has made things worse in terms of temperature, humidity, diseases, and so forth, and so, we have to respond by becoming more resilient and adaptive to the new reality,” said the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew.

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