24 November 2022
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has announced that St Helena is to benefit from the new Improving Essential Equipment in Overseas Territories programme. The programme will fund equipment in Overseas Territories (OTs) that are eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The programme is intended to increase the resilience and well-being of communities of qualifying OTs. It will do this by funding standalone health and infrastructure equipment of critical importance to the Island, including in areas such as emergency services, shipping, and airport operations.
From this fund, up to £1.8m has been allocated to St Helena. This is in addition to existing financial aid and programme funding which has already been provided to St Helena this year from the UK Government as part of the annual funding settlement.
The chart below provides an indicative overview of how the £1.8m will be spent on St Helena (this may be subject to change during the procurement process):
Health and Social Care
New tools that allow medical staff to better manage illness on-Island and reduce the need for off-Island referrals will be delivered. This will help to improve the turnaround time for assessments and results, delivering better and timelier care to patients, without needing them to travel abroad. This will be of benefit to a range of patient needs, from blood tests to liver disease assessments to infectious disease diagnosis.
Safety, Security and Home Affairs
Replacement engines for two of the sea rescue vessels will ensure the service continues to operate effectively, delivering this vital service upon which the public rely and the airport’s licence depends. A new reach stacker will provide additional capacity for safe cargo operations and help to smooth the transition to the new facility at Rupert’s.
St Helena Airport
The airport is a key strategic priority for the Island. New equipment will provide a long-term solution for the airport fire service in its ability to discharge dry chemical powder in the event of a fire. This will safeguard the public and visitors to our Island, and ensure that the airport can continue to meet the regulatory conditions under the aerodrome certification.
Treasury, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development
A new slurry road paver will improve management of the maintenance workload for the Island’s road network, ultimately delivering longer lasting roads.
SHG is already working to procure the equipment so that members of the public can begin to realise the positive benefits of the programme.
On receiving up to £800k for new medical equipment, Minister for Health and Social Care Martin Henry said:
“This is fantastic news for our health services as we look to deliver our strategic goals. It comes at an important time when we are about to commence work on our new programme for chronic disease prevention and management. As well as taking on new equipment, much of this funding will be used to replace and update current equipment. This will mean that our staff can work more efficiently and with state of the art tools, ultimately delivering better results for patients. Improving our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat potential illness on-Island will avoid the need for sending many people abroad, which takes time and is disruptive to the patient. This investment will lead to better and quicker care, and save the taxpayer money in the long run. The recent Joint Strategic Needs Assessment has given St Helena a clear picture of the health of the nation. Funding for this new equipment will help us to tackle some of the key issues identified, complimenting much of the other work already underway.”
On the additional programme of funding, Chief Minister Julie Thomas said:
“I’d like to thank the UK government for this very welcome £1.8m of funding. This will allow St Helena to improve critical services that the Island and the public rely upon, and will help us to enhance services that are expected to save lives. This additional money will have a significant and real impact on our ability to achieve our vision and strategic objectives for St Helena, and is a true testament of what is achievable when St Helena and the UK Government work together to target financial assistance where it is most needed. It is for these reasons that I remain adamant that building and maintaining relationships both locally and internationally are key to achieving the best outcomes for the future of our island.”
On the programme, Governor Phillips said:
“‘I should like to add my thanks to the UK Government for this essential funding. I am delighted that there will be wide-ranging benefits to the community, but grateful also that we will through this programme be able to assure continued compliance with the safety regulations that underpin the operation of our airport.”
Notes to Editor:
SHG has worked with FCDO colleagues to establish how best to target the funding to achieve the maximum impact locally within the conditions of the fund. A rigorous exercise was undertaken to prioritise the essential equipment known to be needed, taking into account the urgent needs of the public service, the ability to procure the items and the criteria set by the FCDO. This list was then prioritised based on the following conditions to select the most suitable items for use by this fund:
- Likely to save lives
- Likely to save money in the long run and reduce recurrent expenditure
- Critical to strategic priorities
- Purchasable in, or by the end of, the current financial year
23 November 2022