Guyana: New maternity wing at GPHC finally completed

After about a year’s delay, the new maternity wing at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is finally completed, and currently in use.

According to Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, most of the patients who were in the old wing, have already been transferred to the newly built section.

“Only those who have an infection or some other ailment are being kept at the old wing,” Minister Lawrence said.

She has not yet visited the newly opened wing, but plans to do so shortly.

The new maternity wing project, which commenced in February 2015 with some $263M, was supposed to have been completed within a few months time. However, there were a number of delays. The then Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton, had blamed the contractors.

“I know that he had to go back and do some remedial works, and I was told when I assumed duties, that that was completed. That is why they are able, now, to occupy that area,” Minister Lawrence said recently.

Former Minister, Dr Norton had even signalled intentions to institute the penalty clauses against the contractor, and have the entity face legal action.

“It is unacceptable. They were justifying the delay by saying to us that they had to stretch their resources to cater for other projects, and as a result, have neglected this wing,” Norton had explained.

The new wing was supposed to have been opened to the public in March of 2015, but was delayed on at least three occasions.

When asked, Minister Lawrence said that she is aware of Norton’s intentions to have the sanctions executed, but could not give an update on where that process is at.

“In terms of those details, I will not be able to say. You know that we do have a new board (of directors) at the hospital, and I try as far as possible, not to intervene in the hospital…only in critical instances, so the board is being left to sort out the nitty-gritty,” Lawrence said.

In the 2016 National Budget, some $89M was set aside to develop the maternity unit of the country’s largest public health institution, GPHC.

In addition to the newly opened wing, the unit will benefit from table-top foetal heart rate monitors, hand-held foetal heart monitors and portable ultrasound machines.

The new facility will also be outfitted with about 50 beds, a 17-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), an Operating Theatre and several birthing rooms that are sound proof.

The new wing is seen by many as a major accomplishment within the public health sector. It also represents one step closer to eliminating instances where four persons- two mothers and two babies, are made to share one bed.

Nonetheless, the old maternity ward, as explained by officials, will still be kept operable, so as to cater for peak birthing seasons.

The Public Health Ministry has also promised that the upgrade will see mothers and their newborns having access to better patient care at GPHC.(Kaieteur News)

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