It’s official! The Judges Hill Community Clinic is equipped and ready to serve as the medical facility was officially commissioned on Thursday with pomp and style during an official opening ceremony east of the New Winthorpes Primary School.
With hundreds in attendance, including villagers, well-wishers and a number of high-level government officials and dignitaries, the long-awaited dedication ceremony brought joy and delight to a community that had been without a health clinic since 2007.
Applause and shouts of victory filled the evening skies when the ribbon was officially cut by Health and the Environment Minister, Molwyn Joseph, Acting Governor General Sir Clare Roberts, Member of Parliament for St Georges, Dean Jonas, Principal Nursing Officer Nurse Margaret Smith and Acting Supervisor of Public Health Nurses, Nurse Phillipa Roberts.
Addressing the gathering earlier in the afternoon, Minister Joseph forcefully implored the audience not to dwell on the past but rather seize the moment while also looking towards the future.
“I know that the people of this community have waited a long time but we will not dwell on the nine years of waiting. Let us seize the moment, be inspired and celebrate the fact that we are opening this clinic today and as my Principal Nursing Office reminded me just now, that there are four more to go.”
Joseph also reminded his audience of the importance of nurses in our society, stating that they are the cornerstone of healthcare delivery on the island.
“The nurses in Antigua and Barbuda are the backbone of our healthcare system, and I must commend the leadership of the nursing profession in Antigua and Barbuda today, especially the Principal Nursing Officer for really addressing the issues of health in a serious and robust manner. And I want to send a clear signal that the Minister of Health will not allow his nurses to be bullied.”
Another highlight of his twenty-five- minute speech was his announcement that the twin-island state is one of seven countries in the world that has completely eliminated the transmission of HIV and Syphilis from mother to child. This revelation was received with rapturous applause.
“We have been notified that Antigua and Barbuda has passed the validation of the elimination of mother to child HIV and Syphilis transmission, and as the Minister of Health it is one of this nation’s proudest achievements.” He said it did not come easy because it is only a handful of countries that have achieved this status.
Another official to address the crowd was Member of Parliament for St Georges, Dean Jonas, who was more than happy to see the completion of the project which started some four years ago and in expressing his delight, he declared that it was indeed a symbolic moment for many of his constituents.
“This is a signal moment in the lives of the people of St Georges, particularly the residents of New Winthorpes, Barnes Hill, Cedar Valley, Powell’s, Carlisle and Lamberts. Since 2007, almost a decade pleading for attention, the desire of the people to have this Judges Hill Clinic reopened has finally being granted,” Jonas declared.
During his speech, MP Jonas paid tribute to a number of nurses from the area and among those who received awards were Nurse Clothilda Hampson, Nurse Junie Francis Freeland, health aid Catherin Bartley and Nurse Elaine Davis.
Principal Nursing Officer Margaret Smith and Supervisor of Public Health Nurses Phillipa Roberts also delivered remarks.
Musical renditions were also part of the dedication ceremony and there were performances by the New Winthorpes Primary School Students, Ronnie Davis, Nurse Kay Tomlinson and Le Chateau D’or.
Master of Ceremony at the function was acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and the Environment Ena Dalso Henry. The invocation and dedicatory prayers were done by Pastor Kenny Edwards of the New Bethany Church while Nurse Almarie Coates delivered the Vote of Thanks.
The clinic will serve the residents of New Winthorpes and Barnes Hill, Cedar Valley Gardens, Powell’s Estate and Carlisle.
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Wonderful news!! Plz take care of the facilities as you administer/receive service
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