Jul 24, 2009 News Comments Off on $1.8B New Horizons Guyana projects progressing
Thousands benefit from Medical Clinics
(By Mondale Smith)
Through a U.S. Southern Command initiative to strengthen partnership ties with nations in Central and South America, the New Horizons humanitarian group is currently on the local shores executing construction and renovation works and medical Clinics to the tune of US$9m (G $1.8B).
All told, more than 650 American volunteer soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are in rotation in Guyana for this third project that includes renovation of a school building at Timehri, East Bank Demerara, construction of a health centre at La Penitence and a school in Bel Air Georgetown.
The over-all project started on July 1 and will conclude on September 15. Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Keenan, the New Horizons/Guyana task force Commander said most of the US ranks are reservists and National Guards who will be rotated in eight sets between the USA and Guyana during a three months period.
Two more clinics are carded for Linden and Timehri. A more specialized operation will be conducted at the Diamond school. “By the time the clinics are done we will see in excess of 12,000 people,” Lieutenant Colonel Keenan said.
Thousands have been flocking to the New Horizons medical clinics at the Skeldon Hospital to access free US medical services. Other clinics are slated for the Georgetown and Linden hospitals.
Yesterday US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, Karen Williams, toured that New Horizons medical clinic where about 200 US ranks with assistance from the GDF and medical personnel rendered assistance to the hundreds who cued up in the compound, at the entrance and along the Skeldon Public Road.
She said, “It is about US $9m being spent on the over all exercise.”
While some patients waited in the compound, others on the outside armed themselves with umbrellas and braved the morning sun to get the free medical services such as medical, optometry and dental care.
The daily clinics that began on July 21 will conclude on July 30 and the team is aiming to treat at least 5,500 patients over the nine patient contact days.
Ms Williams said, “Projects like these prepare our own forces and provide training with populations outside the USA. They also give us another opportunity to partner with the people of Guyana.”
She noted that there already exist several humanitarian projects in Guyana that involves the support of US military through New Horizons and continuing promise.
Being part of the over all US Government humanitarian assistance to Guyana, the engagement continues with a ship visit in 2010 and other construction projects.
US/Guyana relations have also seen Guyana benefiting from about US$20M annually through the PEPFAR project. The was also the Comfort ship that came to the local shores in 2007 and the US Kearsage visit last November.
Williams commended the Ministries of Health and Education and the GDF for their support for the projects while Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Keenan, the New Horizons Guyana task force Commander said, “It’s fantastic the way things are happening and we are really grateful for the reception that we have received from the Guyanese people and the GDF.”
New Horizons has been in existence for about fifteen years and has been to Guyana on two occasions during which they have constructed several buildings.
Since the start of the 2009 clinics the medical team reports that there have been a lot of people coming in with diabetes, Hypertension and obesity. There were also some cases of overdoes while at least 200 patients have benefited from free spectacles daily.
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