A 50-bed maternity unit, outfitted with an operating theatre and private rooms for fathers wanting to witness the birth of their children, will soon be constructed in the compound of the New Amsterdam Hospital, Minister of State Joseph Harmon announced yesterday.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon said that Cabinet recently gave its no- objection for the construction of the first phase of the unit at a cost of $23.064 million. The contract was awarded to Caston Engineering Services.
“It is expected that this project, when completed, will enable the Region Six health authorities to better take care of the approximately 3,000 maternal deliveries that are done in the region every year,” he said.
According to Harmon, the maternity unit will consist of labour rooms, including two private rooms which will enable fathers to witness deliveries, an operating theatre, a neo-natal unit and a 50-bed maternity ward.
He went on to explain that this construction is in keeping with President David Granger’s mission to provide safe spaces for women to give birth.
Days after he would have visited the Maternity wing of the Georgetown Hospital two years ago, Harmon reminded, the President had expressed concern at its state. “He was very upset about it and gave some clear guidance to the Ministry of Health that he would like to see proper maternal units set up all across this country for our womenfolk,” he said, before adding that the president’s vision is to have a maternal hospital.
“These steps that are being taken now are preliminary steps,” he said while informing that work has already been undertaken to expand the Leonora Hospital as well at the West Demerara Regional Hospital. Upgrades will also be done to the hospitals at Bartica and other parts of Essequibo to ensure that we “place focus on our women folk who have to have safe delivery.”
Harmon told reporters that the hospitals at Mabaruma and Lethem will also be upgraded. Health centres countrywide, he said, will be equipped with additional doctors.
“We are deploying trained doctors at all of these facilities so that we take health care facilities to our citizens,” he added.
Harmon added that the maternal unit at New Amsterdam will be the model that will be followed in the construction of other such facilities. “You can be assured that our expectant mothers across the country will get the quality of service that they deserve in delivering the men and women of our future generations,” he said.