Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister inaugurated the Desruisseaux Health Center after completion of modernization work, on 9 November 2018. In June 2019 three other similar health centers were completed.
In May 2019, Phase II of the Smart Health Care Facilities began its fourth year of implementation with notable achievements. More than 1,000 people from seven countries are beneficiaries of the Caribbean Action Plan on Health and Climate Change, which will increase resiliency to disasters and reduce health facilities’ carbon footprint and environmental impact.
The plan, financed by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, has increased the capacity to evaluate medical care facilities in the Caribbean region and improved resistance to disaster impacts by employing smart (safe and ecological) construction standards. Also, a road map was created for future investments.
These achievements were aided by the development of a smart hospitals tool, the online publication of technical materials, and the creation and distribution of a disaster contingency plan template for health centers.
Personnel have been trained in evaluating the Hospital Safety Index (HSI) and the Green Checklist, which covers conservation of water and electricity, planning for contingencies, a baseline evaluation tool, the CARCEP comparative energy evaluation tool, market commitments with local contractors, and training of auxiliary staff.
With the updating of the HSI and the Green List training in three countries, preparedness numbers are expected to increase until the end of the project. The ambitious objective is to adapt 50 health care facilities in a region that experienced 17 storms in 2017 (10 of which became hurricanes, six of them major hurricanes).
Designs to modernize 25 of the 50 facilities have been completed, and work has been done in 11 of these facilities. A University of Florida case study on the role of economic information in decision-making related to medical care, which includes data on the Smart Health Care Facilities project, indicated that ministries of health prefer multiple small investments.
It was also discovered that this increases facilities’ ability to function interdependently in disaster response and that it improves access to the health system. Now in the middle phase of its cycle, the project is devoted to accelerating the design and modernization of the 50 medical care facilities.
The capacity of this project to provide more protection against disasters and climate change for the countries in and outside of the Region will continue as external relationships are formed.
To date, all the beneficiary countries (Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) have created road maps for future investments. In addition, the British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Fiji, Paraguay, and Peru have decided to implement smart standards at some level.
The project was presented by Saint Lucia at the World Health Assembly and adopted by WHO.