The Port Kaituma Hospital has been plagued by constant blackouts over the past few weeks owing to a shortage of fuel, but Regional Chairman Fermin Singh says plans are in place to rectify the situation.
Singh told Stabroek News yesterday that there was blackout at the hospital for one night (Thursday). A month’s supply arrived in the area late yesterday afternoon.
However, according to Richard Alleyne, who spoke to Stabroek News earlier this week and yesterday, blackouts have plagued the hospital for more than two weeks. Allen said that on Thursday night, staff begged a resident for fuel. Five gallons were provided and it was enough to power the medical facility on Thursday night and into yesterday. It also allowed the dentist to perform extractions on patients, who had to be turned away the previous day.
Allen explained that about three years ago, during a visit to the community, President Bharrat Jagdeo promised a generator to provide electricity to the hospital and the morgue. That promise was kept but for one reason or the other, the region has not been keeping its end of the bargain, which according to Alleyne was to supply the fuel. He claimed that the region is provided with money to do so. He added that when residents question members of the administration when they are not performing, they get annoyed.
Stabroek News was told that not only residents but the police have been supplying the hospital with fuel to keep the generator running.
“The region is responsible for supplying the fuel. I spoke to a businessman who said he has not been paid by the region for fuel supplied since January,” Alleyne said, adding that it was because of this that the arrangement came to an end.
Alleyne added that members of the business community who supply fuel are never paid.
He said that on Wednesday two people went to do extractions and could not because there was no electricity at that time. Pregnant women, he added, also suffered that day because the fans could not work, leaving the building very hot and uncomfortable to be in.
“Residents are wondering who else to complaint to since their efforts so far had gone to naught. The regional authorities know about it because the businessman with the fuel spoke to the REO [Regional Executive Officer] and she told him that she needs a quotation,” the upset resident said.
He said residents are fearful that medical staff will be unable to deal with an emergency, especially if it happens at night, if the situation continues. He said too that the situation had created fear as unknown persons went into the nurses’ hostel, which is in the same compound, and stole their personal possessions.
He stressed that the medical staff are being forced to light candles and use small lamps.
Alleyne pointed out that as a resident of Port Kaituma he feels very bad about the situation. He pointed out that it is not fair for persons to be donating their supplies when the region has money to do so.
Residents are hoping for a speedy resolution to this problem, he stressed.