Hospital workers sit-in over lack of potable water
Workers at the CC Nicholson Hospital at Nabaclis, East Coast Demerara,
downed arms yesterday to protest the lack of potable water at the facility.
The situation reached crisis stage yesterday after the workers received no relief despite after almost two weeks of complaining to the regional health authorities.
The action by the workers at the hospital could impact negatively on the smooth running of the Maternity Clinic scheduled for today.
As a result of the absence of potable water, the workers were forced to limit the number of persons they treat at the facility since they argue that proper sanitation is a major prerequisite for the provision of proper health services.
“We have been treating persons, like hypertensive patients, but we cannot do dressings and for sure we may not be able to deal with the babies tomorrow if this situation is not rectified,” one of the health workers said.
When Kaieteur News visited the hospital yesterday, it was observed that the pipe fittings that bring water to the main building were loose and water was flooding the yard.
The reservoir which holds water that is subsequently pumped to the overhead tanks was in a deplorable state for want of cleaning.
A rust-stained bucket was also seen catching the drips of water from one of the taps in the compound.
According to the workers, the situation has been like this for months, worsening in the past two weeks when the pipe fittings became loose.
They claimed that the regional authorities were informed about the situation two weeks ago but all they did was to come and assess the situation.
“They sent two men and they just come and look around and go away,” one of the workers told this newspaper.
Kaieteur News tried unsuccessfully to contact regional officials.
This newspaper was told that the Regional Health Officer was attending a seminar and was not available for comment.
The workers were loud in their praise for the District Medical Officer who they said has been doing her best to remedy the situation.
“All she could do is report the situation. We know that she keeps calling the higher authorities, they are the people who are responsible for this,” another worker declared.
This newspaper was informed that late yesterday afternoon another inspection of the hospital’s water system was carried out but no work was done, and it is unclear when this will materialize.
The workers said that in the interim they have been forced to fetch water with buckets from the nearby nursery school and also rely on liquid hand sanitizers, which they claim is inadequate for the type of work that they are mandated to do.
“We can’t do anything without water. If we have a delivery now, we have to refer them to Georgetown. We can’t do no dressing, no baby clinic,” a worker said.
Today, the hospital is scheduled to accommodate more than 80 maternal patients.
“All they talking about is the budget cut. But the health sector got their full share and still they coming up short in the service they are providing to members of the public,” a resident of the area was turned away yesterday.
The workers are calling on the regional health authorities to employ a handyman for the facility so that health workers could focus on providing the service they are paid to provide.