In just a matter of months, an abandoned maternity unit at the Leonora Cottage Hospital will benefit from a “complete makeover” as part of Government’s continued plan to reduce the maternal mortality rate.
Having recorded 17 maternal deaths last year, the country was unable to meet its related Millennium Development Goal, which was to decrease maternal deaths by three-quarters between the years 1990 and 2015.
Although Guyana missed its target, Public Health Minister Dr. George Norton said that his ministry will continue to do its utmost to tackle this key issue and bring it down to the lowest in the Caribbean at any cost.
With that being said, Dr. Norton announced that the first move towards the ministry’s fight to “reducing deaths of our mothers” would be to upgrade the Leonora Cottage Hospital’s maternity unit.
This, he said, will facilitate mothers all the way from Parika, East Bank Essequibo, to West Coast Demerara.
Presently, mothers are being taken to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, where some of them are later transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
The maternity unit at Leonora is equipped with all the basic equipment, but has not been functioning for awhile because of inadequate staff and for other minor reasons.
On Friday, the minister and a team which consisted of engineers, toured the maternity unit, and a plan was sketched as to what has to be done to have the ward up and running.
This newspaper was told that the hospital will benefit from an operating theatre in the maternity unit to deal with any complication developed during delivery.
While speaking with the media, the minister explained that President David Granger visited the hospital on Christmas Day and he was very disappointed with the condition of the maternity ward.
Kaieteur News was told that the President then called for an emergency meeting to discuss the way forward.
“As a result of that meeting, we came here and we see an abandoned ward where we have a birthing room and birthing beds in good condition, but it is not functioning. This we can put in a functioning mode without much cost attached to it,” Dr, Norton stressed.
He said that the plan is now to get the hospital to a stage where mothers can visit to have their babies be cared for and later sent home in good strength.
“It is the halfway area between Bartica and West Demerara Regional Hospital, and we hope to make full use of this health facility. We want to also have qualified obstetricians, anesthesiologists and a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit),” the Minister noted.
He also related that once the Leonora Maternity Hospital is up and running, it will reduce the overcrowding at the GPHC’s maternity ward, where two mothers are sometimes being forced to sleep on one bed.
Additionally, three other hospitals will benefit from major upgrades. These include the West Demerara Regional, the Bartica and the Suddie hospitals.
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