Yesterday, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) released a series of photos of the facility via social media, but no media was invited to what the officials say was a “walkthrough” conducted by health officials and other stakeholders,
The photographs released on the Ministry’s Facebook page show several interior and exterior spaces of the newly refurbished hospital facility. Public Relations Officer, Terrence Esseboom told Kaieteur News that health officials and other relevant stakeholders were given a firsthand view to examine the work done so far with the project to ensure that it is on par with standards for operating a sanatorium for infectious diseases.
When asked why the media was excluded from the event, Esseboom offered that the media could not be facilitated at the initial stage of examining the $1B project.
The PRO also could not give the specifics of the works conducted, so far. He said that only the technical persons could provide adequate responses to questions, only saying that the project is 80 percent completed and is slated for full completion by August of this year. Questions were also raised about what appears to be a centralized air conditioning system, a feature which is reportedly not suited for an infectious diseases building, but again the PRO said that those questions must be directed to the technical medical personnel.
In addition, Esseboom declined to say too how much money was expended to retrofit the facility, so far directing this paper to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Collete Adams. When contacted, Ms. Adams said that she too did not have the figures at her disposal, but committed to providing an update today.
Meanwhile in a video clip released following the exercise, Chief Medical Officer, (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud noted that the facility is well suited for the control the spread of infectious diseases. According to the CMO, the facility is spacious and also located in a position where there is minimal exposure. Dr. Persaud explained that the facility will cater to three levels of care of coronavirus cases.
“Here in this facility the plan is to handle at least three categories of persons, those who are infected and suffering from signs and symptoms, those who are asymptomatic, and those who need to be in quarantine,” he explained.
He said the initial concept is to centralize the care services with regards to the novel coronavirus and, once the pandemic is brought under control, the facility will look to handle other infectious diseases.
The CMO‘s comments come even as questions remain as to why $ 1 billion is being spent to transform an old, flood-prone building into an infectious diseases hospital. There are also questions as how the money is being expended.
While no information has been publicized to indicate how the project was awarded to contractors, Kaieteur News recently learnt that in addition to the main contractors behind the renovation – International Import and Supplies and Ivor Allen Construction – there are seven other contractors who were contracted to several sections of the projects.
Some of the work identified in the contract include remodeling of the main wing; installation of medical gas; HV AC – negative pressure system; construction of operating theatre; construction of R.C ramps and laundry room and rehabilitation of main plumbing system and distribution networks was awarded to international imports and supplies; construction of R.C base for triage area and holding area for infectious waste; construction of northern concrete fence, timber revetment, construction of R.C. base for morgue and concrete walkways for projects for the MOPH.
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