Regions 3 and 4 get new ambulances

─As part of IDB loan intervention for Maternal and Child Health

─Equipped to cater to Maternal and neonatal cases

─Min. Lawrence urged regions to care vehicles

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Two new ambulances have been officially handed over to the Regional Health Officers of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region 3) and Demerara-Mahaica (Region 4) to be put into operation immediately. The vehicles were purchased with funding from a $1.6B (US$8M) Inter-American Development Bank loan.

The loan was approved in 2016 for a project to address the high rates of maternal and neonatal deaths in the country. The IDB project loan covers interventions in Regions 3, 4 and 9.

Valued at exactly $31.5M, the two ambulances registered PXX 9370 and PXX 9371 will contribute significantly to a further decline in maternal and neonatal deaths. The village of Annai was a recently beneficiary of a similar asset.

The ambulances are fully equipped with emergency equipment including resuscitation kits, collapsible stretchers, oxygen and important to note that a detachable incubator is also a part of the ambulance.

Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence, just before handing over the keys to the health officers stressed that fact that this is owed to the people of Guyana and therefore it belongs to them.

I trust that as we hand these ambulances over to these two regions, that much thought and care will be put into it ensuring that these vehicles are put on a maintenance schedule, that the persons who are employed to drive and the ambulance attendants are held accountable for the equipment and the items in here are placed in a stock ledger so there can be a handover at the end of shifts.”

Regional Health Officers of Region 3, Dr. Cerdel McWatt and Dr. Quincy Jones of Region 4, both said the acquisition is critical to the improved level of health care delivery to expectant mothers and their babies.

Dr. McWatt noted that “we have received initially a boat and engine to serve the Santa Mission and Sand Hill areas in the Demerara River so this new vehicle is the second phase which will aid in the Maternal and Child Health programme and the region’s health programme as a whole.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Jones noted that “for Region 4, this is the first time we have such an ambulance that is comprehensively equipped with all the necessaries needed for the transporting of an emergency patient… this will be coupled with the upgrade of the CC Nicholson hospital which will become a maternal institution where low-risk mothers-to-be will be able to deliver there.”

Giving a quick comment, IDB’s Country Representative, Sophie Makonnen said she is satisfied with the pace of the project and the number of interventions being rolled out, noting that each region has equally benefitted.

“Issues of maternal and neonatal deaths are pretty high per capita in Guyana so this is an important programme for the citizens of the country. So, these ambulances are specifically geared and equipped for expectant mothers and their newborns,” the IDB representative said.

The procurement of the ambulances falls under a component of the project to provide better services and strengthen the network for transporting neonates and their mothers.

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