Transport for critically ill Rupununians is major problem

-mother of six died just after childbirth

Surrounded by her grandchildren sitting on the lone bed in her half-built home in Parishara, Region Nine last week Eunice Stephen cried for her daughter, Rosalind Stephen, 33, who died two months ago during childbirth.

At 55, Eunice has to be mother and provider for six of her grandchildren following Rosalind’s death on November 18 last year after childbirth during which relatives say she did not receive proper care and despite the difficulty of her pregnancy, had to wait for hours for a vehicle to be made available to take her to the Lethem hospital, 38 kilometres away.

The circumstances surrounding Rosalind’s death as well as the death of another woman, Euphemia Francis, 20, three Saturdays ago at Nappi has upset relatives and villagers who say that the lack of transportation to take the patients to the Lethem hospital was a crucial factor in the deaths. “It is not a good story,” said Guy Fredericks, the toshao of Nappi who also administers Parishara as it is a satellite community of Nappi. “I don’t think there are professionals right now at the hospital,” he said. “The staff at the hospital is not prepared to handle real emergencies.”

Rosalind Stephen

Rosalind Stephen

“That is the main thing killing us, transportation,” Stephen Fredericks- the health worker at the Nappi Health Centre told Stabroek News. He said that the vehicle at Lethem has to service the entire Rupununi and sometimes they have to “search all corners” of the sprawling region to locate it.

Efforts to contact Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran on these two deaths were futile.

In the rough trails of the Rupununi, the availability of transportation to the nearest hospital can mean the difference between life and death. Relatives of the two women say that they know of no investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths and villagers including the toshao said that action should be taken to avoid similar occurrences in the future. Fredericks said  …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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