Paramakatoi Smart Hospital commissioned, residents to benefit from improved access to healthcare

Residents of Paramakatoi, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and the surrounding communities will benefit from improved access to healthcare with the commissioning of a smart hospital in the village.

The Paramakatoi Smart Hospital, previously the Paramakatoi Health Centre, was retrofitted to meet modern standards as part of the Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean Project.

The new Paramakatoi Smart Hospital

The project saw Guyana collaborating with the United Kingdom (UK) to retrofit five selected hospitals with environmentally-friendly systems, and heightened resistance to natural disasters.

The hospitals also utilise colour therapy to lift the spirits of patients, and induce a sense of wellness and calm.

Paramakatoi is the fifth hospital to be retrofitted under this project.

At the commissioning ceremony on Saturday morning, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony expressed that the completion of the smart facility serves as a demonstration of the government’s commitment to the modernisation of Guyana’s health sector.

“We have embarked on a project to transform the health sector in Guyana. And you would have noticed that over the last two years or so, despite COVID, we have placed a lot of emphasis on developing, strengthening and expanding the range of services that we can offer at any one of our health facilities. And [Paramakatoi] is no different, because we need to expand the range of services that we can offer here,” he said.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

The minister noted that one of the most convenient things about the hospital is its simple layout, a key feature many health facilities lack.

“One of the challenges we’ve had with existing facilities is that over time, we keep adding pieces to it, and after a while it becomes very cumbersome. And when people come, they’re not sure where to go, which room to go in, and sometimes it can be challenging, especially for older patients. So, part of this project is to simplify the layout of the building, so that when people come in, they can have easy and ready access to the building,” he explained.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller noted that the overall investment for  Smart Hospital initiative in Guyana totals $1.6 billion. She further expressed her satisfaction with its success.

“One of the priorities for the UK government is tackling climate change, preventing ecological and biodiversity loss, and also building resilience to disasters that might come along. And that’s why this project started…. The idea was to make these facilities stronger and more resilient to whatever the climate is, or whatever might befall them. And this is the last of the five to be handed over to the Government [of Guyana],” she said.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller

She added that the initiative has seen success in Belize and St Vincent and the Grenadines, where smart hospitals withstood severe natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes.

Meanwhile, Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Advisor on Disease Surveillance, Dr Rainier Escalada, expressed, “This effort adds a very important layer or dimension to our collaborative work on health here in Guyana. Through this project, we have been retrofitting health facilities to become safe and resilient against various hazards such as hurricanes, floods, droughts and earthquakes, to become more environmentally sustainable in terms of water, electricity and power consumption, and very importantly, to improve the operational capacity towards rendering good quality and relevant health services to the people of Guyana.”

Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Advisor on Disease Surveillance, Dr Rainier Escalada

Last year, the government commissioned additional smart hospitals at Mabaruma, Region One, and Leonora, Region Three. These facilities complement the smart hospitals at Diamond, on the East Bank of Demerara, and Lethem, in Region Nine, which were commissioned in 2021.