During his budget contribution in the House of Assembly in June 2021, Minister of Health, Renward Wells commented on some of the health facility projects that Eleutherans could look forward to during the 2021/2022 fiscal year, as well as further considerations to be given to improving health services on the island.
Projects in the pipeline to take place during the next 12 months, said Wells, included:
“- The Phase 2 repairs to the Spanish Wells and Harbour Island Clinics;
– a redesign and repairs of the Lower Bogue clinic and residence is anticipated;
– Phase 1 repairs and renovations of the Old Governor’s Harbour Clinic and Residence; and;
– we will also begin the construction of a state-of-the-art facility on mainland Eleuthera.”
Aside from his oblique reference to a ‘state-of-the-art facility on mainland Eleuthera’, no further details were offered up by Minister Wells about this project. Residents in Eleuthera are well aware of the large mounds of quarry created in the township of Palmetto Point by the previous administration in preparation for a promised ‘medical facility’ in Eleuthera, as well as talks in 2019 about the possibility of converting the Worker’s House facility in Governor’s Harbour for the same purpose, both of which have not materialized to-date.
Minister Wells also thanked MP of North Eleuthera, Ricky Mackey, saying, “Eleuthera now has a newly renovated Bluff Clinic. I would like to thank my colleague, who spearheaded this renovation and we will open this Clinic at the end of July once we have procured the necessary medical equipment to be housed there”
Wells went on to comment on the generally poor state of health facilities in Eleuthera, informing, “Here is a national health fact. The Island of Eleuthera has a total of sixteen (16) clinics which accounts for 17.0% of all Primary Health Care Facilities or Clinic Services in the country. What is disconcerting, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that seven (7) or 44.0% of the 16 clinics on the Island of Eleuthera, especially Mainland Eleuthera, do not meet healthcare standards. Assessments show that they only can provide basic care and unless there is massive injection of capital they will never meet licensing standards.
“Consequently, plans are underway between the central and local executive management teams in South Eleuthera to strengthen the provision of home care services. Later in the year, a healthcare conclave or workshop will be held with the Ministry of Health and the community to determine the best way forward. We will discuss – the access to healthcare services on the island; the construction of new facilities; and extended hours of the clinical operations.
“We will not leave Eleuthera in that current state. The built environment throughout the Bahamas will be busy in this coming budget period,” concluded Wells in his commentary directed to the state of health affairs in Eleuthera.