-foreign support being utilised to address dilemma
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] is plagued by infrastructural shortcomings. This state of affairs was recently amplified by visiting Cardiology Specialist, Dr. Debra Isaac.
Dr. Isaac who hails from Canada’s University of Calgary and has had an important part in the Guyana Programme for Advanced Cardiac Care (GPACC), made the infrastructural observation in a documentary titled Born Blue, which alludes to babies born with congenital heart disease. The documentary was recently unveiled at a forum at the Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.
According to Dr. Isaac, the fact that patients sometimes have to be moved from one building to another, sometimes in conditions that are not desirable, poses a challenge to health care. As she agreed with the observations, made by Dr. Isaac, the Public Health Minister in an invited comment to this publication said, “She is quite right, today’s scenario is not how a hospital is built…”
Minister Lawrence however noted that although it is true that the GPHC is faced with such a challenge, it is not unique to that health facility. “It is not GPHC alone; it’s almost all the hospitals that we have had for a period of time…Some of them we inherited from our colonial masters and so on; some of them were old buildings that were turned into hospitals,” explained Minister Lawrence.
She added, “From my perspective there seem not to have been a broader vision in terms of where Guyana is going by 2025, how many people will we have, what type of communities will we have, and what will be the services needed? We’ve lacked that type of forward looking vision. What has basically been taking place, they were building little offices, little buildings and so on as they went along,” related Lawrence.
But moves are apace to address this glaring shortcoming. The efforts in this regard are starting at the GPHC. According to Minister Lawrence, “Presently we do have an architectural service from the United States that is freely looking at the entire [GPHC] compound.
“They are going to make some decisions as to how we move forward because there is so much to take into consideration…where we put what, where we can move what because of the connectivity that we need.”
However, Minister Lawrence when asked about the decision to halt a building that was slated to accommodate a day care facility at the public hospital, insisted that she had no hand in that matter. She said that the move to work on the multi-million dollar building would have entirely been up to the hospital’s Board of Directors.
The Minister, nevertheless, admitted that she had shared some concerns which were premised on her background in social services. “I did indicate to the [former] Chief Executive Officer [ag] when I came on, the things we have to look at to ensure that we provide a day care/night care for our staffers’ [children].
“I come out of the social sector and I am big on that… What I do know is that you cannot build a day care/night care [facility] in the hospital because of the contamination. I gather all of that was taken into consideration.
“Secondly, it has to be built according to the early childhood development policy. So it is not just building a room and calling it a day care and night care. Those are some of the things the Board might have looked at and found that it could not continue like that,” related Minister Lawrence. She said that she is very satisfied with the work of the Board.
Some $15 million was allocated to the construction of a facility to accommodate the day care/night care facility which was halted after some 80 percent of the works were completed. The construction of the building was reportedly the brainchild of the former CEO of the hospital, Mr. Allan Johnson, who has since been removed from that position by the hospital’s Board.
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