It will cost the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) approximately $5 million to fully restore its operations after a fire of unknown origin wiped out a significant portion of its infrastructure at Jemmotts Lane, Bay Street, The City last Saturday.
Chief Financial Officer Sonya Alleyne today said prior to the blaze at the old Ministry of Health building the BFPA had already been cramped for space.
However, Alleyne said the fire, which also destroyed the sections housing the Vector Control Unit, has now left the organization without a home, adding that a new facility would be costly.
“After 50 years of being in our Bay Street location, we were outgrowing our space. But the fire on Saturday has now crippled our operation. It has now diminished our youth department, destroying all of the equipment housed there,” Alleyne told a news conference this morning at the Diabetes Association headquarters in Warrens, St Michael.
“In addition the environment is also unsafe so we are looking for a facility. It is our desire at this point to move to another location, which would take us to the next level of offering sexual reproductive health, the critical things the BFPA is known for. It looks like a $5 million project,” she added.
Several other services were also disrupted as a result of the early morning fire, including breast lump removal, prostate cancer screening, support for school-based programmes, screening for gender-based violence and the young mothers’ programme.
Alleyne revealed that it was the goal of the BFPA to add even more services when the family planning organization gets a new home.
She therefore appealed to the public to assist in any way possible.
“We are appealing Government, private sector or anybody that can offer any assistance such as building or land that would enable us to set up a facility to resume operation. It’s a huge undertaking but this takes the BFPA from the 1950s into the next century. Given the increase in services that we offer every year we anticipate that a new facility would need to accommodate much more clients,” Alleyne said.
Meantime the association is offering its services by appointment only.
A message on its website states: “The BFPA clinic is currently closed until further notice. We are however, operating a limited clinical service by appointment only at a temporary location. you will need to call 426-2027 to book your appointment.
“The board, management and staff, thank you for your cooperation and understanding at this time, as we work towards being fully operational again.”