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Realizing a Community Vision: Mary Charles Hospital Reopens to the Public

A local St. Kitts hospital serving approximately 10,000 people has reopened—and it’s undergone a complete transformation.

After being closed for renovations since late 2015, the Mary Charles Hospital in Molineux, St. Kitts will once again offer full medical services to the St. Kitts community. The reopening was commemorated with a ceremony attended by government ministers, the Ministry of Health, Department of Public Works, private sector partners including Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM), and members of the community. It was an exceptionally proud moment for all who took part.

Established in 1986, MCH had fallen into disrepair and was sorely in need of renovation and supplies, due to outdated or broken equipment and dilapidation of the physical site. To improve the environment for health care, RUSVM and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, with other private stakeholders spearheaded a partnership to donate much-needed supplies and equipment, along with targeted renovations, to the facility.

“As I stand here, I see a hospital that looks nothing like it did 10 months ago,” said Hazarie Ramoutar, director of the student experience at RUSVM, in his remarks at the ceremony. “The result that we see today is a shining example of our public-private partnership, and evidence of what can be accomplished when we work together for the good of our community.” 

A Community Effort

The Mary Charles Hospital is a central institution in the rural community of St. Kitts, Ramoutar said. The 10-bed hospital supports approximately 10,000 people from Parsons in the west to Cayon in the east. In addition, it serves as a site of teaching and learning through a partnership with Windsor University School of Medicine, one of the supporters of the renovation project.

In addition to those previously mentioned, public and private partners included Whitegate, St. Kitts Marriott, The Seventh Day Adventist, KM Services, Fraites & Sons Bakery, who collaborated to revitalize this important community institution. Upgrades included the installation of 110 voltage electricity—which required replacement of all the wiring—the restoration of ambulatory services to the hospital, a new roof and the creation of a new maternity ward. New flooring, some new windows, toilets, sinks, beds, doors, cabinets, refrigerators and security cameras were installed, and the building was repainted. The wards and units were outfitted with new medical equipment including a complete one room examination package, compliments Windsor University. In addition, the RUSVM Red Semester class of May 2017 donated three exam tables (approximate value $5,467.61 USD).

“Our class wanted to give back to the island and have a positive impact on the people of St. Kitts for years to come,” says Josh Sparago, RUSVM Red Semester student, now in his clinical year. “The exam tables will service thousands of patients at Mary Charles every year, so it’s our way of thanking the people of St. Kitts for generously hosting us on the island.”

 The entire site was also given a complete landscaping, including new fencing, and planting of flowers and palm trees. Three “oasis” areas with picnic tables were developed outside, where patients have the opportunity to get some fresh air, sit outside in the shade, and relax. A new plaque reads: Responsible corporate citizens investing in the wealth of our nation through the health of our people.

“It’s an amazing feeling seeing everything that we accomplished. It’s just a complete transformation,” said Desiree McKoy, project lead for RUSVM. “We came together and essentially outfitted the hospital anew.”

The total contributions of private sector partners amounted to more than $365,000 XCD (approx. $135,000 USD), with RUSVM contributing approximately $55,000 USD. RUSVM’s role in the project is a key example of its commitment to the One Health Initiative, a movement to forge inclusive collaborations between physicians, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines.

“RUSVM is committed to enhancing the mechanisms that interconnect health for all—not just for companion animals and livestock, but for the people that play a vital role in maintaining a healthy environment,” said McKoy. “This is our way of ensuring that sustained health is achievable by at least ensuring there is a well-equipped medical facility accessible to the people in this part of the island.”