The Sophia Health Centre is once again in operation, this time equipped with armed guards, after it was closed down briefly following an armed robbery three Wednesdays ago.
This was confirmed by Director of Regional Health Services Dr Kay Shako, who said that the facility, which has been reopened for more than a week, will now be conducting mandatory checks before persons are allowed to enter.
The health centre had been closed when this newspaper visited last week Thursday. There was a heavy-duty padlock on the gate and a repairman was working on the exterior of the building. Barely visible signs, written in what appeared to be pale, pink, highlighter, were on each of the two gates. They read (with much difficulty), “Notice – This Health Center will be closed until further notice. Order by management.”
A pregnant woman, who later revealed that she was 8 months along, accompanied by an older lady and young child approached, attempting to gain access. They were residents of Sophia but had not known the health centre was closed. In fact, it was the expecting mother’s second visit in two weeks after she began experiencing pains. She related that on the last occasion, she had simply gone home instead of seeking attention elsewhere.
According to media reports published last month, nurses of that facility had closed it down after a gunman entered under the pretence of escorting a patient for medical treatment and committed a robbery. The facility was robbed after they gained entry to see the nurse.
Last year October, a doctor and other staff members were robbed at gunpoint. A source had told Stabroek News that the bandits held a gun to the doctor’s head while they relieved him of a gold chain and cellphone. They then ordered everyone else to hand over their cellphones before escaping.