During a visit to Region Six on Saturday, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence was informed that all three operating theatres at the New Amsterdam Public Hospital were functioning properly.
Lawrence, and a team which included Member of Parliament, John Adams and PAHO/WHO country representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow, along with the media, visited the National Psychiatric Hospital at Fort Canje, the New Amsterdam Public Hospital and the Skeldon Public Hospital.
Dr. Vineshri Khirodhar, Acting Medical Superintendent at the New Amsterdam Hospital explained that one of the theatres had been briefly out of commission due to a faulty light which has since been fixed. Two of the theatres are used for general surgery, while the third one is used for ophthalmology operations.
Meanwhile, the minister suggested that the hospital management should implement single power supply lines to specific departments, so as not to overload the main power line.
During the visit media operatives were told that the room, allocated for the C/T Scan machine which was donated to the hospital over a year ago, which is located adjacent to one of the operating theatres, is currently being used as the laboratory.
A new building which is almost finished will house the lab, after which the C/T Scanner is expected to be installed.
The minister was also told during her visit to the hospital’s pharmacy that there is no major shortage of drugs presently. However, it was highlighted that there is a shortage of septrin (an antibiotic) and a tropical ointment for pain, which is mainly due to an increase in the number of prescriptions for those two medications.
Meanwhile, during the visit to the National Psychiatric Hospital, a two-storey clinic and administrative building was recommissioned.
Lawrence noted that she hopes the staff will take notice of the fact that the ministry has addressed their working conditions which were not up to standard, as well as their security concerns and had done rehabilitation work, and that they would come back in 2018 with a “renewed attitude and mind, and more purpose driven.” Lawrence added that come 2018, the ministry will focus even more on the psychiatric hospital.
She said, “We want to ensure that we can have this place fixed in such a way that you can be comfortable to work here and that it puts you in a good frame of mind to be able to render services to others.”
At that visit Khirodhar noted that before the rehabilitation works, the staff worked in “adverse conditions” but still properly executed their duties. She welcomed the work which has been done thus far. The compound of the psychiatric hospital has also seen noticeable rehabilitation work.
The team also visited the Skeldon Public Hospital where the staff are benefiting from a number of improvements. Lawrence, who had visited the hospital earlier in the year, said, “… [I had] found the hospital in a state of disrepair and unfit for the efficient delivery of healthcare”.
She recalled, “When I came here, the place was in a deplorable condition. I went to the Physiotherapy Department, they were boxes everywhere, [and] the machines were in a corner. It could not be used by the clients because they did not have space. … In the pharmacy, there was fungus on the wall, water was running down”.
She explained that, “The improvements did not only come from us as a government; either by the Ministry of Public Health or the regional authorities. It also came from the business sector in the community and that makes me very, very happy.”
She highlighted, that the building which was built for the accident and emergency unit had been converted into the pharmacy and rehabilitation department, with the support from the Corentyne business community.
She noted that monies have been allocated in the 2018 Budget for the construction of a new building which will house a theatre and an accident and emergency unit at the Skeldon Hospital.
Other improvements include the installation of air conditioning units, along with rehab work on the wards, and presently on a building that houses nurses.
Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO country representative Dr. Adu-Krow has committed to assisting the facility with the digitization of its pharmacy records, making it easier for the keeping of inventories and the records of drug distribution.