The Evalina Smith Children’s Unit at the St. Philip District Hospital was a gift from Evalina Smith, wife of the manager of Thicket’s Plantation.
Matron of the St. Philip District Hospital, Lolene Rawlins, made this disclosure on Friday afternoon during a brief handing over ceremony of medical equipment from the Rotary Club of Barbados to the children’s unit.
She pointed out that the building was handed over to the Government in September 1952 for the women and children of St. Philip. Rawlins noted that initially it served as a maternity hospital up until the late 1960s when maternity care was centralised.
The matron explained that from the 1960s until the present, it has become the home of 18 severely mentally and physically challenged children. She said during Michael Browne’s presidency of the Rotary Club of Barbados, he approached her with a view to refurbishing the unit. However, it was during the presidency of Michael Thompson that the facility was worked on and handed over to the then minister of Health, Dr David Estwick.
Rawlins said the Rotary Club of Barbados later adopted the unit and has been assisting it with toiletries and other items. It was during the presidency of Brenda Pope that a major injection of funds was made through a partnership with a British chapter of Rotary. The partnership, which was struck between Walsall Saddlers in the UK and the local body, was able to raise over $50,000 to purchase medical equipment for the unit.
The medical equipment comprised six fully electric home care beds; two shower commode chairs; one chair scale; an aspirator, blood pressure monitor and nebulizer and other supporting items.