On Tuesday, there was a genuine demonstration of love as a major piece of equipment was donated to the Mount St John’s Medical Center.
Dozens gathered to witness the historic occasion at the country’s marquee health facility, where a Hyperbaric Chamber was officially handed over to the Ministry of Health and the Environment at exactly 4:27 pm on Tuesday 13th February 2018.
The chamber was donated by the Calvin Ayre Foundation and came about after the decompression sickness (Benz) death of a local fisherman and diver, Andy Samuel back in 2017.
Friends of the deceased testified on Tuesday that they approached His Excellency Calvin Ayre, on the need for a Hyperbaric Chamber on the island, which he readily agreed to purchase for the country.
Speaking at the one-hour long ceremony, His Excellency Calvin Ayre, who is also the Special Economic Envoy for the Government of Antigua and Barbuda said that it was all about helping people and saving lives.
“Clearly this project is humanitarian, especially with respect to local fishers. The loss of just one person can be so devastating and so unnecessary and we hope that having this new Hyperbaric Chamber will make decompression sickness a thing of the past,” he noted.
Another speaker at the function was Health and Environment Minister, Molwyn Joseph who disclosed that the event forms part of a step by step process in taking Mount St John’s Hospital to the pinnacle of health care delivery in the region.
“What we are engaged in is erecting another building block in what we hope to see in Antigua and Barbuda in a fairly short time, that the Mount St John’s Medical Center being a first world health institution in the Caribbean,” Minister Joseph declared.
The Minister also announced that the Hyperbaric Chamber is a machine of many functions, adding that it will not only be used for the treatment of decompression sickness (Benz).
“The significance let me add, is not only in the treatment of decompression but also in the treatment of the most pervasive diseases that we have in Antigua-Barbuda today and that is diabetes and the treatment of diabetic sores.”
Before leaving the stage, the Minister he promised that those who operate the machine will be thoroughly trained in all aspects of the work, especially where customer service is concerned.
“We in the Ministry of Health, we understand that we have to play our role and we will make sure that this treasure, our piece of equipment will be cared for and we will have our people trained. Not only technically but we will have them trained in customer relations, which is an important aspect of healthcare.”
Following the brief ceremony, the doors to the Hyperbaric Chamber were officially opened when the ribbon was cut by His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Health and Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph and His Excellency Calvin Ayre.
Earlier, singing sensation Suzetta Hamilton got the ball rolling with the National Anthem, which was followed by the opening prayer by Pastor Cindie Simmons Lee and Dr. James Knight who made welcoming remarks.
Ms. Anika Potter of the Calvin Ayre Foundation was the Master of Ceremonies and Dr. Albert Duncan had the honor of delivering the Vote of Thanks.
The exercise was attended by a number of high-level dignitaries to include Minister for Social Transformation, Samantha Marshall, former Finance Minister Dr. Errol Cort, Senator Harold Lovell, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade Walter Christopher, Senator Londell Benjamin and Joan Carrott, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and the Environment.