House approves $3.6B to fast-track healthcare infrastructure

Guyana’s health sector will continue to see massive expansion with the injection of additional funds to transform infrastructure to enhance the delivery of services, as the National Assembly on Tuesday approved an additional $3.6 billion.

This sum will help to further aid in the expansion of modern healthcare infrastructure throughout Guyana, primarily the construction of the modern hospital complex at New Amsterdam.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

While responding to questions posed by Opposition Member, Dr Karen Cummings at the 70th sitting of the National Assembly, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony explained that the $3 billion would be spent to pay the government’s advance to the contracting company, VAMED Engineering.

The $3 billion that we are requesting is for a very specific thing. We have recently signed the contract to build a new New Amsterdam hospital. And as per the contract, the government’s obligation is that we have to advance 10 per cent to the company. This $3 billion reflects that 10 per cent advance to the company.”

The sum of $260 million will be used for sand-filling works at the regional hospital sites.

Dr Anthony said that $16 million will be expended for someone to supervise the New Amsterdam project. 

The state-of-the-art New Amsterdam hospital will be a three-storey facility that will be equipped with modern machines to deliver new and advanced services.

“We have handed the site over to VAMED. So, we expect that construction will start early in the new year,” Dr Anthony said. 

Relating to the expansion of training programmes, Dr Anthony also explained that as Guyana is increasing the number of nurses coming from Cuba, other resources which were also approved will help to take care of the nurses from Cuba this year.

He added, “One of the challenges we have is with nurses. So, we have increased the amount of nurses we are bringing from Cuba. These additional resources are to pay for those flights for people to come.”

Approximately 1,000 persons will be trained in the nursing assistant programme in January 2024, as the ministry continues to roll out training programmes to boost the human resource capacity in the sector.

Notably, 1,200 persons are currently in the registered nursing programme.