$1.6B Centre for Disease Control and Prevention commissioned

190 bed capacity, 200 staff to be employed

Plans to facilitate research unit in the pipeline

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Guyana Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was commissioned on Thursday, July 30 by His Excellency President David Granger. The facility which has a 190-bed capacity is a key element in the country’s preparedness to respond to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic.

The Head of State who unveiled the ceremonial plaque said he looks forward to the centre effectively serving its purpose to the Guyanese people.

This new specialised public health facility is the first all-inclusive infectious diseases emergency response centre in Guyana. It also caters to future outbreaks and epidemics.

Delivering the welcome remarks, Minister of Public Health, Volda noted that establishing such a facility reflects the will and resolve of the government to proactively cater to all infectious diseases.

The Minister said the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Guyana is the link for providing a “continuum of care and the investment made will benefit the people of Guyana.”

It was outlined that despite the current number of health facilities in the country, there have been challenges to effectively respond to infectious outbreaks such as the coronavirus.

More specifically, the nation’s tertiary health institution which has a wide array of specialised services being delivered cannot cater generally to infectious diseases without displacing other services.

“Our tertiary institution, the GPHC has about 500 beds and that represents approximately 36 percent of all hospital beds in the country with an occupancy rate of 99 percent. This situation assessment deemed it necessary and beneficial for the country to have a designated facility for any surge in patient-load caused by the COVID-19 situation,” Minister Lawrence explained.

The minister noted that at least 10 similar facilities were built in other countries in the region of the Americas.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Colette Adams in her overview of the project outlined that in addition to bed capacity, there is room for the employ of 200 persons, laboratories, a pharmacy, Intensive Care Unit, Operation theatre and even a mortuary.

The facility is housed in what was formerly the Ocean View International Hotel. The Ministry had engaged the proprietor of the hotel and an agreement was reached for initial modifications to commence in March.

These and other works were completed over five months. There are also plans to add a research institution in preparation for future outbreaks of any deadly disease or virus.

“The ministry envisions a research institute which will provide data analysis and diagnostics for diseases and viruses,” Adams disclosed.

PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow who was also present at the ceremony noted that this was an important step in the right direction and extended congratulatory remarks on behalf of his organisation.

“I am confident that this new facility will radically improve the quality of service and infrastructure for patients and staff as we continue the battle against COVID-19,” Dr. Adu-Krow said

The completion of this project is timely as it provides the opportunity for a range of adequate health care even in the light of a public health crisis.