Thursday 2 July, 2020

St Lucia Ministry of Health gets $700k for coronavirus

A budget of over $700,000 has been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Wellness in funding Saint Lucia’s preparedness and response to the global pandemic, COVID-19.

The budget, which has been approved by Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Allen Chastanet, is for six months, except for salaries, and is required to support and undertake the following as Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharon Belmar George explains.

“Upgrading of our isolation unit to the fifteen beds, a total of $112,992.”

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Loop News has been reliably informed that this is inclusive of renovation works costing $57,500, procurement of beds valued at $49,866 and the purchase of laundry equipment amounting to $5,626.

“Salaries and allowances for public health nurses and environmental health officers, as Mr Ragnanan indicated we had to increase the human resource, for a six month period, $353,872. Retrofitting for expansion for isolation, $156,773. Purchase of equipment and furniture, $132,050.”

$127,600 for the Environmental Health Division and $4,450 for the communications unit.“The initial budget towards communication is $60,215. The initial procurement for medical supplies, pharmaceuticals for the health services $242,173,” Dr George told a press conference.

Dr George, who is Saint Lucia’s lead coronavirus response coordinator, however noted that the equipment recently procured for testing is not included in the allocated budget.

To date, there have been 113,702 confirmed cases globally with 4,012 deaths.

At least 109 countries affected including regionally: Dominican Republic (5 cases), Martinique (3), St Martin (2), Jamaica (1), French Guyana (5), St Barthelamue (1).

Outside China, where the virus emerged, a total of 32,778 cases with 872 deaths.

Earlier today, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic. He said he was deeply concerned by the "alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak.

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