$100M being spent to upgrade Region 2 primary health care facilities

The government is investing $100 million to upgrade and expand primary health care facilities across Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), with the aim of ensuring citizens have access to quality, reliable and efficient healthcare services.

On Thursday, Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo led a team including Deputy Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Veronica Griffith and Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr. Ranjeev Singh, on an inspection of the works carried out on a number of facilities along the Essequibo Coast.

Director-General of the Ministry of Health. Vishwa Mahadeo, Deputy Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Veronica Griffith and Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr. Ranjeev Singh and other health personnel at the newly renovated Charity Health Centre.

Inspections were also done on the Bethany and Mashabo health posts which also benefited from rehabilitation works valued at $3 million and $4 million respectively.

The team visited the Charity Health Centre located in the compound of the Oscar Joseph District Hospital. That facility benefited from major renovation to the tune of some $6 million. The Windsor Castle Health Centre was outfitted with a washroom facility, among other works.

The newly renovated Charity Health Centre.

Dr. Mahadeo, who also has responsibility for regional health services, said over 90 per cent of the projects on the Essequibo Coast are completed, with two riverine health facilities still undergoing rehabilitation works. The latter works are scheduled to be completed soon.

“Most of the contractors who would have done the work would have already either received their payments or their payments are in process…we had asked that these projects be completed early because the earlier they finish the earlier the patients will benefit,” the director general told DPI.

To further boost the health care services in the riverine areas, the health ministry spent $2.8 million to refurbish the ‘Lady Janet’ dental boat which was out of service for six years. Dr. Mahadeo said the boast provides dental services to residents in the Upper and Lower Pomeroon areas every Monday.

Director-General of the Ministry of Health. Vishwa Mahadeo during his inspection at the Windsor Castle Health Centre.

So, the services are being provided, not on an ad hoc basis, but on a routine basis so people would know when to expect the boast and the staff is there so that they can get help.”

Dr. Mahadeo noted that one of the major challenges in staffing at the health facilities. However, with the launching of the part time jobs by the Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, persons will be employed as porters, cleaners, labourers and clerical officers to fill that gap.

He commended the RHO and team for the work they have been doing to ensure facilities across the region are at an acceptable standard, and that adequate drugs are distributed in a timely manner to avoid shortages.

Land filling completed at the New Castle Health Centre.

RHO Dr. Ranjeev Singh, said he has been receiving great support from the health personnel within the region to ensure proper health care services are provided to the citizens, in keeping with the mandate of the government.

Going forward, Dr. Singh said, proper mechanisms will be put in place to ensure the facilities are maintained.

“What we recognised is that when we do a project at these facilities, we tend to not remember them for a period of time, and if you don’t then they become dilapidated. So, our plan is to ensure we have a maintenance plan for them every year so minor works can be done, and we don’t wait until we have the big major projects, and a lot of money has to be spent,” he pointed out.

The RHO said that the services have improved within the region over the past year – and -a half. For the first time, residents can be tested for thyroid, troponins (heart enzymes). Elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing is being done at the Suddie Hospital.

“These tests may cost about $10,000, and as such we have reduced that cost significantly, so, if persons in the Pomeroon want to do these tests, they do not even have to pay $2,000 passage to come to Suddie, what we will do is that we will take the sample and transport it to Suddie, analyse it and sent it back so it reduces financial burden to those people,” he explained.

On Wednesday, Dr. Mahadeo led a specialised medical outreach in the riverine communities of Bethany and Mashabo. Residents benefited from services including dentistry, eye care, general and laboratory testing services.