SMMC launches World Bank project with workshop series | THE DAILY HERALD

CAY HILL–St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is hosting a series of workshops conducted by World Bank representatives aimed at providing guidance on the execution of the projects that will be accomplished using grant funds.

  The workshops began on October 15 and will continue until October 17. SMMC is the recipient of a US $25 million grant for the St. Maarten Hospital Resiliency and Preparedness project, which will contribute to critical rehabilitation of the existing hospital and construction of a new and larger facility, more resilient to climate shocks.

  The grant agreement is in effect and SMMC is entering the execution phase of the St. Maarten Hospital Resiliency and Preparedness Project. With the workshops, SMMC will be receiving information and hands-on training on how to navigate the World Bank processes efficiently.

  Health Minister Emil Lee said during the opening meeting of the project launch workshops that the start of the project, as marked by the start of the work to reinforce the current hospital roof, makes this project a model for St Maarten’s recovery process.

  “Through the team effort of the health tripartite – Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA, SMMC and Social and Health Insurances SZV – together with the assistance of the World Bank task team leaders, we have secured the funding for the hospital resilience project. As important as the funding itself, the timing of the funding is equally critical.

  “By financing the project from the first tranche, this saves the project lots of money in planning and efficiency. Step by step, we are delivering affordable quality healthcare close to home,” Lee was quoted as saying in a press release issued by SMMC on Monday evening.

  SMMC General Director Kees Klarenbeek said SMMC is now in the execution phase of the project.

  “With the support from our World Bank team we are confident we will effectively comply with the World Bank procedures in order to receive the funds for the different project items within a reasonable timeframe. The people of St. Maarten will be provided with access to a broader range of healthcare services on the island in a safer and more resilient facility, better prepared to deliver health services in case of another disaster,” he said.

   On behalf of SMMC, Klarenbeek thanked the Dutch Government for making the Trust Fund possible. “Also, our gratitude goes towards the excellent cooperation between Ministry of VSA, World Bank, SZV and the entire SMMC team” Klarenbeek said.

  Head of the Dutch Representation Office Chris Johnson said a new hospital and improved healthcare are crucial for St. Maarten. “The St. Maarten Hospital Resiliency and Preparedness Project serves as a great example of the type of projects that can be made possible with financing from the Trust Fund,” Johnson said.

  World Bank Task Team Leader and Senior Operations Officer Carolyn Shelton said, “We’re very pleased with the pace of detailed, technical project preparation and that the project is moving forward with implementation. This project will not only focus on a new building, but will also improve the quality and scope of health services for the population of St. Maarten.”

  Trust Fund Steering Committee members Marcel Gumbs and Frans Weekers accompanied by Netherlands Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Reconstruction Programme Director Hans van der Stelt were updated last week on the progress and plans for St. Maarten’s new general hospital and were pleased with the project, SMMC said in the release.

Source: The Daily Herald