The spanking new facility located at Oronoque, Port Kaituma, North West District
By Leroy Smith in Region 1
The New Port Kaituma Hospital Complex was commissioned earlier today by the Ministry of Public Health and the Regional Democratic Council of Region One.
The facility, located at Oronoque, Port Kaituma, North West District, was built at a cost of more than nine hundred and fifty-nine million dollars. The construction was done by International Import and Supplies Limited. That contractor took over from R. Bassoo and Sons, who initially started the project.
Present at today’s event was Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence, District Doctor Matthew Barker, Regional Health Officer Dr. Steven Chefoon, Permanent Secretary Collette Adams, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, Bess, and Sewchan, along with the Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Nigel Langhorne, and other Ministry officials.
Following the official ceremony to mark the opening of the facility, Lawrence and other officials toured the complex. She expressed satisfaction at the works done at the facility.
It is equipped with two pharmacies, pediatric, male and female wards, along with an infectious disease building. The latter is detached from the general building where the other wards and departments are housed.
The old Port Kaituma Hospital is still in use at the moment, while there are no patients housed at the new facility.
In his presentation, Dr. Langhorne noted that the first breakthrough of the project was back in 2012 after several instances of tweaking.
The location of the old hospital, he noted, was not conducive for a health facility, given the surrounding commercial activities coupled with the bad access to the facility and the inability to properly dispose of waste. Slush and rain boots were the order of the day when it rained, while dust filled each ward during the dry season. Approval for the new facility was granted back in 2013 and construction commenced in 2014.
Dr. Langhorne noted that the present location serves Region One well, as it sits on the main access road to Matthews Ridge, and is away from the hustle and bustle which plagued the old facility.
He was also keen to point out that the facility is there to serve the various communities, irrespective of race, colour or creed.
Regional Health Officer Dr. Chefoon noted that optimum care is the number one priority for the administration of the new facility. He said that he envisions a complex where all services which are offered in Georgetown can be offered in Port Kaituma, and as such, there was a futuristic plan in the development of the hospital.
According to the Regional Health Officer, residents will no longer have to go to Georgetown for X-Rays or wait for blood samples to return from Georgetown after they are taken. The hospital is also equipped with a filtration system so that water can be consumed directly from the taps.
Wastewater coming from the hospital is also treated before it goes into the sewer systems.
Dr. Chefoon noted that decreasing and eliminating maternal death is something the region is also looking to achieve, and in this regard, provisions are in place to ensure that all mothers deliver their babies at the hospital as far as applicable.
Permanent Secretary Adams noted that back in 2017 when she first visited the existing structures, there were several deficiencies that were not in keeping with hospital standards. A number of departments had to be modified in order to meet requisite codes.
Adams used her time moments at the podium to heap praise on all departmental heads and staff within the Ministry of Public Health who have worked to ensure the project’s completion.
Minister Lawrence, meanwhile, asked for Guyanese to look at the gains made thus far with the current health situation, but also for them to understand that there is much more to be done.
She said Guyana has developed its primary health facilities over the years and the health care at primary facilities are still being addressed.
The Minister said that the maintenance of health should not be determined by where someone lives, although this still seems to be something health workers are battling to eliminate.
According to her, the Public Health Ministry has reintegrated its health delivery services to ensure that all Guyanese benefit from proper health care and related services.
The Public Health administrator called on residents to elevate themselves so that they can take over from the current specialists when the time is right, ensuring that the expertise can come from right within the region.
Lawrence said that she implored that concrete roads come straight to the hospital, irrespective of what timeline the Ministry of Public Infrastructure had to get it done.