By the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD)
UAE / ST LUCIA – The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) chief executive officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, on August 3, 2023, signed SFD’s first development loan agreement worth US$75 million with the prime minister of Saint Lucia, Philip Joseph Pierre, to fund the “Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of St Jude Hospital Project” in Saint Lucia, through SFD.
The signing was also attended by Saint Lucia’s minister for external affairs, international trade, and civil aviation, Alva Baptiste, Saint Lucia’s minister for health, wellness and elderly affairs, Moses Jn. Baptiste, the cabinet of ministers, and government officials from both sides.
This agreement is part of SFD’s efforts to support sustainable development in developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Since operations began in 1975, SFD has implemented more than 700 development projects and programs in 89 countries around the world. Therefore, the signing on August 3, 2023, marks SFD’s first presence in Saint Lucia, making it the 90th nation to receive funds from SFD for a development project.
SFD’s funding of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of St Jude Hospital came as a much-needed response after its reconstruction, following a fire in 2009, was abandoned for three years, between 2016-2019. This placed the availability of healthcare services for Saint Lucia’s population at risk.
In response, SFD’s development loan will help to provide an integrated medical facility offering secondary medical care to Saint Lucia’s population, with a capacity of approximately 100 beds.
The project will also involve renovating the hospital’s southern, eastern, and western wings, as well as its sub-buildings. As part of this, the hospital will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a pharmacy, maternity wards, accident and emergency department, and operating rooms for surgery, among others that will help to deliver excellent healthcare services to Saint Lucia’s population. The hospital’s rehabilitation will also improve climate resistance capabilities throughout the facility, improving its durability and resilience.
In addition, the project will also contribute towards creating employment, both during construction and once the renovations are complete and the hospital is in operation. As such, the project supports realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, and SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
On this occasion, the prime minister and minister for finance, economic development and youth economy in Saint Lucia, Philip Joseph Pierre, said:
“[Today], we are one step closer to making amends to the people of Saint Lucia, particularly to the people of the south of the island, by securing funding for the reconstruction of the St Jude hospital. We have been able to achieve this milestone with the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the SFD, as we embrace a new era of collaboration to find sustainable solutions to tackle pressing issues. Providing access to healthcare is not merely an economic or political imperative. It is a moral imperative, rooted in the values that define us as a country. It is about compassion. It is about empathy. The state must provide every citizen with accessible, affordable, safe, and reliable healthcare.”
On his part, the chief executive officer of the Saudi Fund for Development, H.E Sultan Al-Marshad, said:
“[Today’s] agreement signifies an important step in the development cooperation between both countries. The project to reconstruct and rehabilitate St Jude hospital will not only help empower local communities, but also contribute towards strengthening the health sector’s capacity to cater to the requirements of Saint Lucia’s residents and the surrounding areas.”
Saint Lucia’s minister for health, wellness and elderly affairs, Moses Jn. Baptiste, also shared his views on the essential role that St Jude hospital plays in the country, stating:
“The St Jude hospital is very special to the people of Saint Lucia, and particularly to the people of the south of our nation. We may have a small population, but St Jude hospital lies at the heart of our nation, serving approximately 50,000 people annually. Moving forward, it delights me to know that this hospital will continue its glorious tradition of providing medical assistance to St Lucia’s population after all those years, and collaborating with medical professionals around the world.”
The development cooperation reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to achieve sustainable development goals and foster economic and social growth.
About the Saudi Fund for Development
The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) is a government entity that provides soft development loans and grants to finance development projects and programs in developing countries.
Since 1975, SFD has financed over 700 infrastructure projects in 88 countries across various sectors such as transportation and communications, social infrastructure, agriculture, energy, industry and mining, and others. The projects support generating socio-economic development and help to improve the living standards of disadvantaged communities in countries most in need. SFD’s activities are aligned with the international development principles and contribute towards realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, it unifies its efforts in development support through partnerships and cooperation with regional and international organizations.