Diabetes Research Centre For Real

Image of Professor Philippe Halban
Professor Philippe Halban

THE Ministry of Health, in partnership with a Switzerland based private company founded by Dr. WalidJuffali, St. Lucia’s representative at the International Maritime Organization, yesterday launched a diabetes project with the hope of creating a new regional standard in diagnosing, treating and pioneering research in the disease.

Professor Philippe Halban, an authority on diabetes is the project’s Steering Committee chairperson. He is with W Science, the Switzerland based private company founded by Juffali. Halban says that the committee will establish a National Diabetes Coordinating Centre here.

Health Minister, Alvina Reynolds said that the centre will be established within the next 12 months and will be accompanied by a nationwide diabetes screening programme; an educational awareness-raising campaign across the country; a world-class training programme to create a local team of specialist diabetes nurses who will be on par with diabetes care specialists anywhere in the Caribbean and the establishment of a national registry of people with diabetes that will enhance clinical care and research in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean.

It is not known exactly where the centre will be located. Neither Halban nor Minister Reynolds could identify a location, however, the Minister explained that the steering committee will determine a location after discussions with stakeholders, meaning persons with a direct interest in it.

“This is all part of the consultation. We may have ideas in our head …We are looking at space, we are looking at contracting people,” Reynolds said.

Also not known is the exact composition of the steering committee.

“The chair of the steering committee has been appointed, which is myself and part of the work we will be doing over the next two days is to discuss with key stakeholders on the island, representing all levels of the society and health care professionals, and I am hopeful that coming out of these meetings we will have a better idea of the composition of the steering committee,” Halban said.

Both Minister Reynolds and Halban are of the view that the diabetes project is not hot air being blown about and that the project will definitely get off the ground.

“This is really going to happen. There is a clear commitment from the government, there is substantial investment already allocated. There is no turning back,” Halban said.

He added that there is a very clear two-year plan for work on structured phases of the project with a budget already committed.

The diabetes project was first announced in last year’s Throne Speech by Governor General Dame PearletteLouisy. She said then that the Government of St. Lucia would embarked on a new initiative to establish the country as a preferred location for investments in medical research, with the view of being able to capitalize on the presenting opportunities for medical tourism.

Government has already engaged the British law firm of Clifford Chance to study the legislative and regulatory framework needed to transform St. Lucia into gold standard medical research centre and has been collaborating with W Science Laboratories AG, the Switzerland based research centre and a team of researchers on a feasibility study for the establishment of a Global Diabetes Research Centre in Saint Lucia.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...


  1. Unbelievable the way in which people accept this crap. What is this man really saying? Smoke and mirrors as usual. Nebulous, speculative and intangible.

    1. You must hand it to the SLP. They have control over some unforeseen and up to now, not used but strange resources. Watch out! They are even bringing in foreign guns into our local quarrels and politics. Case in point.

      History warns us, going all the way back to the old Greek states. For those us who have even half a brain, we must ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’.

  2. What a load of mullarkey!

    This is a misleading headline.

    This Centre is anything but “real”. A year after this Centre was announced in the Throne Speech, we are now being told that this Centre will be established one year from now in an unknown location; managed by a steering committee of unknowns; with undisclosed funds. The irony is all of the things this Centre will do can be done locally. A national register of diabetic patients? Training of nurses? So what on earth is happening now? What value-added will this Centre bring?

    This is hogwash. And frankly a hog smells better than this. This stinks to high heaven.

  3. So they will build the building and then train the nurses? Twelve months to pick up from the so-called Throne Speech, another 12 months to turn the sod, and how many nurses and in what time frame will they be trained to man the building after it has been completed? Looks like all of this seems to have the equal chance of a snowball existing in Hell.

  4. This Juffali business is like an albatross around the neck of this administration. It won’t be removed whatever the outcome of the election. It was done for personal/party benefit. . Juffali’s appointment won’t have been as much of an issue if we were told about it from the start. It was only when the news broke in the foreign press we we told of plans for the Centre blah, blah, blah. Yet this administration has never failed to announce half-baked investments years in advance. So what the plot here? To make Juffali look good? To remove the stench from his appointment? It won’t work.

  5. If I have a paymaster as rich as that billionaire, would there be anything that I would not say to keep my job? I doubt it. There is little to lose. It only hurts those who believe and must die in hope.

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