The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, on Tuesday, Oct. 16 participated in the inauguration of the latest smart health care facility to open in the Caribbean.
The Princess Alice Hospital in Mirabeau, St. Andrew’s, Grenada is the first hospital to have been refitted to smart standards in the Eastern Caribbean and the latest in the Caribbean region as a whole.
“The Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards, so we must be serious about climate change and this hospital is an example of how PAHO is contributing to that,” said Dr. Etienne.
“Countries must provide an overall standard of care so that their people are safe and well, but they must also be able to scale-up this care when they experience a disaster,” she added.
The inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by Nickolas Steele, minister of Health in Grenada; Simone Banister, from UK Aid’s Department for International Development and Shalini Jagnarine, the structural engineer from PAHO responsible for the development of the Project, preceded a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the refitted hospital facilities.
“Climate change and health are serious policy issues for Grenada,” said Honorable Nickolas Steele. “The Ministry is committed to a safer, healthier and greener community throughout the Caribbean.”
The smart standard refit implemented at the Princess Alice Hospital now include protective shutters and a specialized roof; as well as energy-saving light fittings and solar panels.
During the inauguration, an emphasis was placed on the importance of “safe,” “green” and “maintenance” in the development of a smart health care facility. “It is important to invest in smart hospitals, but it is just as important that these facilities and this investment are maintained,” said Dr. Daniel St. Louie, house officer at the Princess Alice Hospital.
The Smart Hospital Project is an initiative financed by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented through PAHO. The organization works with ministries of health in countries across the Eastern Caribbean to construct and / or retrofit health facilities with the aim of improving disaster resilience while saving energy and water.
The primary functions of smart health care facilities include protecting the lives of patients and health care workers; reducing damage to hospital equipment and infrastructure; providing health services under emergency conditions; using scarce resources more efficiently; and improving strategies to adjust to future hazards and climate change.