Hinterland health facilities can be temporary ‘shelters’ – CMO
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has proposed that hinterland health posts and centres serve as temporary shelters in the event of natural disasters. The CMO made this submission after he visited the village of Jawalla on Monday.
Dr. Persaud noted that when freak storms and floods affect residents in far flung hinterland communities, there is no emergency shelter available for them to access supplies. Additionally, if homes are destroyed it is crucial for persons to be temporarily housed.
This is just one of the measures proposed by the team which visited the storm affected Jawalla Village. These considerations were highlighted as preventative steps to eliminate future possibility of death and injuries.
“I would like to propose …all our health facilities … be a place that could shelter…even if there is some prediction …. To try to start predicting when these events will happen and to try to move vulnerable people to some safe place like our health facility.” The CMO noted.
Dr. Persaud has indicated that the ministry is prepared to work with the Civil Defense Commission(CDC) in developing health facilities in far flung hinterland areas as ‘safe zones’ for residents. These facilities would serve as temporary shelters during natural disasters.
The CMO added, “As far as possible for our interest in health and to try to prevent people from being injured, harmed or dying in this case we would like to ensure that the structures or the system and everything in place would lend some protection.”
The Ministry of Public Health has thus far lent its support to the village of Jawalla by contributing the necessary cleaning agents and other items. These supplies are to assist residents in the recovery process after the storm left one person dead others injured and 33 buildings damaged.
The idea of the health facilities serving as temporary shelters is to be explored by the Ministry of Communities, Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, in collaboration with the Civil Defense Commission.
By: Delicia Haynes