By Sharmain Cornette
Some $37M has been earmarked for expansion works at the West Demerara Regional Hospital, a move which will complement recent works carried out on the facility’s operating theatre.
And this development comes on the heels of a survey conducted last year, according to Minister within the Health Ministry, Dr Bheri Ramsaran. He revealed that costing for the repairs for a significant portion of the hospital which adjoins the recently revamped theatre was undertaken.
The intended repairs, he explained, are necessary to accommodate an area for the follow-up management of patients operated on at that facility.
“This $37M that we will be spending to do this will be added to what we have already done to get the theatre up and functioning. That is hard earned tax payers’ dollars that we are using to put things in place here,” Dr Ramsaran noted.
It was just last year, he recounted, that the operating theatre was down and thus created some pressure for the Diamond Diagnostic Centre and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). This situation had even resulted in the underutilisation of professional staff including the surgeon who was stationed there, Dr Ramsaran disclosed.
“The surgeon for example was frustrated as she could not get to deliver the amount of services that she could normally do…she was forced to take her patients to Diamond instead.”
The facility’s limitation was rooted in a series of difficulties all centred on major electrical issues which required expert attention. The situation was further compounded by the fact that a standby generator was not functioning properly thus several bouts of power outages had only served to damage the theatre’s air conditioning system. However funds were invested into the facility which saw the procurement and installation of a 250 KVA generator.
“There should be no problem with power should the central grid run into difficulties. It is a stable power supply which means the theatre and the air conditioning unit that we have put in the theatre are independent and can provide services including emergency services regardless of any negative factors such as power outages from the power plant,” Dr Ramsaran noted. And similar efforts were directed to the hospital’s water system.
“Similarly we have totally revamped the water system including putting in a new reservoir so that in times of low pressure from Guyana Water Incorporated we can store water and have it on hand when we need it.”
Operations at the facility were back in full swing at the West Demerara theatre since January with the most recent operation being two hysterectomies – that is the surgical removal of the uterus after it would have had some disease such as fibroid or some other disease that would make the quality of life for a woman miserable. Such complications could include constant bleeding.
According to the minister, such operations are considered fairly major given the local conditions. As such he noted that the investment in reopening the main operating theatre at the regional hospital is already paying off.
This, he said, simply means that fewer patients will be referred to the GPHC and allow for the return of “our surgeon fully back from Diamond to carry out her function here and bring additional doctors to work with ease.”
The West Demerara hospital has over the years offered services provided by Cuban doctors and several senior Guyanese doctors. However, several newly graduated doctors and a dentist who were trained in Cuba have joined the medical workforce at the hospital, Dr Ramsaran said.
“What we have done here will allow them to perform and deliver services more directly in this urbanising community while taking pressure off of GPHC and more significantly, optimally utilising our investment and at the same time guaranteeing client satisfaction,” Dr Ramsaran asserted.
According to him, intense and significant investments have been made over the past few months to bring the hospital up to a level of a self respecting regional referral hospital with an ever expanding staff base.
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