– Skeldon hospital shows major improvements
The Psychiatric Hospital Clinic and administration department of the National Psychiatric Hospital situated at Fort Canje Berbice was on Saturday re-commissioned by the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.
The ribbon cutting and tree planting ceremony was one that was highly appreciated by the staff of the institution and regarded as a plus for improvement.
Minister Lawrence told the staff that in 2018 they will be more purpose driven with a renewed attitude , “because in 2018 the Ministry will be focusing a lot on this hospital”. Emphasis was placed on the methodologies used when dealing with psychiatric illnesses.
The programmes executed by the Ministry of Public Health, and the Pan American and World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) will be under the spotlight.
The Minister noted, “We are hoping that we can move to the recommendations which they are implementing (in Belize) by the WHO and that is to stop housing persons with mental illnesses and other psychological disorders, and rather to treat them as outpatients. The refurbishment of the psychiatric hospital and its surrounding facilities is meant to ensure the staff is comfortable and persons within the institution receive adequate rehabilitative care”.
Lawrence added that all health centres that were under the management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation will be taken over by the health ministry. “We will be placing some of the services you offer here at those facilities so that people don’t have to pay much transportation costs to get there. More importantly we can treat patients on an outpatient basis instead of institutionalising them,” she said. She also gave credit to Mr. Alex Foster for his drive to make the developments of the hospital a success.
PAHO/WHO country representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow, together with the Minister and her team planted fruit trees in the compound.
The old edifice of the National Psychiatric Hospital is set to be demolished in early 2018.
Additionally, the Health team after the commissioning ceremony toured the New Amsterdam Hospital and interacted with staff, the CEO Collin Bynoe, and Regional Health Services Director Jevaughn Stephens.
Several recommendations were made in relation to improving the services offered. Some of the minor issues highlighted were the shortage of Septrin, used in the treatment of bacterial infections etc.
A visit to the Bio-Chemistry lab saw some discussion on the BT 2000 machine. The machine used for blood testing was said to be pushing a load by doing more than it can actually take. Suggestions were made by the minister to Bynoe and Stephens to have bigger machine that can do the work.
Stephens said that the idea is to have two machines in the lab with one at the Skeldon Hospital. One of the machines have so far been approved. A CT Scan is also expected to be placed in the laboratory area while another building is being constructed to house the lab.
Meanwhile, during the Minister’s visit to the Skeldon Hospital, she expressed satisfaction in the improvements and upgrades made from her previous visit.
“When I came here, the place was in a deplorable condition. I went to the Physiotherapy Department, they were boxes everywhere; the machines were in a corner. It could not be used by the clients because they did not have space.
“In the pharmacy, there was fungus on the wall, water was running down…”, Minister Lawrence said.
Minister Lawrence explained, “The improvements did not only come from us as a government; either by the Ministry of Public Health or the regional authorities. It also came from the business sector in the community and that makes me very, very happy.
“We have taken the building that was built for the accident and emergency ward and the theatre, and we have turned it into the pharmacy. We have extended it to the physiotherapy and we can see the comfort in which the staff can work.”
One major improvement included air conditioning in the labour room of the hospital, which the nurses stated “is very comfortable now, for the patients and the staff”.
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