A water ambulance costing approximately $11 million was yesterday handed over to the Region Seven community of Bartica by the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.
A Department of Public Information (DPI) press release stated that the ambulance was built by Sunrise Marine Inc and is fully equipped for use in the effective delivery of health care services in the riverine region. Its main task is to transport emergency cases and referrals from Bartica to Parika after which the patient could be transported by road from Parika to the Georgetown Public Hospital, the DPI release added.
During a brief commissioning ceremony, Lawrence noted that it was Bartica and by extension the region which made the step for the acquisition of the water ambulance.
“While this achievement is a tremendous step for the people and the health sector in Region Seven… The regional hospital right here in Bartica has all the equipment, all the specialised staff and all the support staff that is able to provide medical services, at all levels, for all the people of Bartica and the adjoining communities,” she was quoted as saying
The Public Health Minister added that it will not only aid in referrals from Region Seven but also Regions Two, Ten and islands in Region Three. More importantly, she highlighted that the regional hospital is staffed with specialists and geared to services that cater to cases requiring emergency intervention. These include high-risk maternity cases, accidents and emergency cases among others. The water ambulance will simply aid in transporting those patients in need of a higher level of care.
According to Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford, the need for the water ambulance was cited since 2006, however, priority was never given to this means of transport by the previous administration.
“We have been back and forth with this particular project and it started since 2006, since then we visualised that we needed a river ambulance… This ambulance will effectively evacuate persons not only from Bartica but those nearby riverine communities,” Bradford was quoted as saying. He also noted that the operation of the water ambulance will eliminate the need for the region to contract and rent boats as was the norm for many years.