Friday, June 21, 2024

Minister Heredia assures hospital in San Pedro by 2020


A hospital in San Pedro Town has been perhaps one of the most anticipated infrastructural projects islanders have been long awaiting. The rapid growth of the municipality has many island residents wanting a proper medical facility, which Area Representative and Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., hopes to complete by the end of his term in 2020.
The idea of a proper medical institution on the island has been hyped by local authorities in the past years. Talks of its construction go back as far as 2011 and in 2012 when the newly elected Mayor Daniel Guerrero of the United Democratic Party (UDP) indicated that a parcel of land had been identified. He claimed that the lot located on Blake Street was in hands of the Ministry of Health (MOH) and they were working on getting the funds for the building. No hospital was ever built, and Guerrero has recently gone public blaming the People’s United Party for the failed construction of the hospital. “They have been criticizing us for the hospital, but ask them, who sold the property of the hospital?” asked Guerrero. “It was the People’s United Party.” Guerrero furthermore indicated that the hospital will finally be built thanks to the UDP.
Heredia has not provided further details on the hospital, in the recent times but the project was a promise made in the UDP manifesto prior to the general elections in 2015. It is unknown and Heredia has not confirmed if the government is going to make a loan for such project as it is unclear if it will be included at the upcoming budget presentation on Friday, March 9th. Back in 2015, it was revealed that a $20 million investment would be needed to erect the hospital and Heredia announced that same year that Central Government was moving one step closer to completing a loan application to fund the hospital building. According to Heredia the MOH had done its due diligence to get the ball rolling regarding such project. Heredia mentioned then that the project would see the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital for the island. No timeline was set, but as far as Heredia has mentioned in various public events, the hospital is expected to be completed north of San Pedro Town within the next two years. Guerrero has re-affirmed this recently when he commented on Reef TV that Heredia intents to oversee the completion of the hospital before his current term in office is over.
In the meantime, the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II continues to be the main medical center on the island, which began offering a 24-hour emergency service in February of 2015. The Polyclinic continues to experience limited staff, resources and has been depending heavily on donations. It is only equipped to stabilize patients until they can be transported off the island. Those medical evacuations are done via air (Tropic Air) adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in expenses.
Island residents believe that San Pedro deserves better health care given the fact that the island is the top tourism destination in the country. They hope that by 2020 they can finally see Heredia’s promise materialize.

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