Aug 06, 2017 News
It would be ideal that a respectable level of government services are provided in remote areas, for the simple reason that it would be difficult for persons in those areas to access services in the urban centres.
However, for whatever reason, adequate attention is simply not being directed towards fixing the many problems which affect the Pakera/Matthew’s Ridge District Hospital, the Matthew’s Ridge Primary School and the community’s police station.
Matthew’s Ridge is a small community located in Region one (Barima-Waini).
Based on reports received by this newspaper, the only good story about the state of the hospital is that it is not short of drugs. However, there is a considerable lack of other resources such as equipment and staff.
Currently, there is a shortage of nurses at the hospital and there is no clerk. This apparently causes the small cadre of nurses to perform the duties of a clerk in addition to their responsibilities.
The hospital is the central health facility in a community where the majority of residents are involved in mining and other stressful jobs. As such, persons visit the institution with a number of physical injuries. Compounding the issue is that there is no X-Ray department.
Hence, if patients want to know whether they would have broken, fractured or dislocated a limb, they have to be flown out of Matthew’s Ridge, which costs at least $20,000.
Information reaching this newspaper is that the malaria department at the hospital is also struggling. As it relates to transportation, there is no All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) at the hospital. This is disappointing, since ATVs are one of the best forms of transportation to be used in the hilly, alluvial soil conditions.
Apparently, the one bike which was used by the hospital was stolen and sold for parts as some of these are presently lodged at the police station.
Added to that, there is a Toyota Cruiser that is parked in the compound of the hospital, but it has several mechanical problems preventing it from being used. A report was made to the Regional Administrative body concerning the vehicle, but no meaningful action has been taken.
According to information received, due to the condition of the roadways, when patients are being transported to the hospital, some would arrive with additional injuries than they initially had. With the lack of a vehicle, assistance needs to be sought from private individuals that own such vehicles to move patients around.
The hospital does not even have a laboratory to conduct blood testing for renal failure or to record patients’ blood level. In addition, there is no ultra-sound machine at the hospital.
This would be important, especially for pregnant women. Based on reports received, hospital staffers have difficulty knowing how far advanced women are in their pregnancy. Further, there is no driver at the hospital nor is there a maintenance officer or pharmacist.
Moreover, as it relates to staffing, Community Health Workers (CHWs) who are mandated to visit homes to check on; due to the staff shortage, the CHWs have to fill-in and assist the nurses, which is outside of their job description.
Further, information suggests that the living conditions for some staff at the hospital are appalling. Buildings are reportedly being taken over by termites (wood ants). There is also a plumbing problem as well as a security concern, since some of the doors are not up to standard. There is one functioning toilet in the entire hospital.
Meanwhile, the conditions at the Matthew’s Ridge Police Station are certainly not of the best. This relates to the living conditions as well. Apparently there were two buildings that were being used as living quarters, but they fell and were never rebuilt.
As such, it is reported that the police officers have to use the little space within the station building to accommodate themselves.
Concerning the Matthew’s Ridge Primary School, Kaieteur News understands that from September 2017, the building would not be able to accommodate the Grade seven children (primary top). The school caters to approximately over 350 students in both the primary and secondary departments. However, a large amount of the students do not attend school.
According to information, there is a plan to utilise the old post office building that would be refurbished to accommodate these classes. Additionally, one of the sanitary blocks needs to be rehabilitated. It was reported also that some sections of the Primary School are infested with termites, including the office of the Head Mistress.
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