The Public Health Ministry will be undertaking the construction of a modern multi-million-dollar complex in 2017, to house the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD).
This department, under the programme of Policy Development and Administration of the Public Health Ministry, will be able to carry out its mandate in a more efficient manner, a release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) stated.
The GA-FDD serves as a regulatory body, ensuring that consumable goods (drugs, food and beverages) meet international standards and requirements, and are healthy for human consumption. The department also ensures that when these items are imported they are screened, meeting local standards before being released to the market for sale.
Public Health Minister Dr George Norton, while making his contribution to the 2017 Budget debate, explained the details of this upcoming project. The total cost for constructing and equipping the building is $130.7 million, GINA noted.
“Included in this programme is the construction of a laboratory and administrative building for the Food and Drug Department for $110 million. A further $20.7 million will be used to procure laboratory supplies, quality control aids and proficiency testing materials,” Minister Norton explained.
Equipment and Laboratory supplies that will be procured include the purchasing of fume hood and a steam digester both for the excise laboratory at a cost of $11.2 million, two incubators and a hot air oven for the Microbiology laboratory at a cost of $2 million and five analytical balances for all the laboratories at a cost of $7.5 million.
The Food and Drug Department is currently housed at the Institute of Applied Science and Technology on the University of Guyana campus in Turkeyen. The new GA-FDD facility will add to the overall upgrading of health testing facilities and regulatory bodies locally.
“In addition, the National Public Health Reference Laboratory will also aim to strengthen its quality management system with the end goal of achieving the accreditation of the international organisation for standards, relating to quality management systems requirement. This will certainly minimise our dependence on overseas.”
The policy development and administration programme of the Public Health Ministry serves to ensure that there is an efficient coordination and management of human, financial and physical resources. These elements are all necessary for the success of the administration for the Ministry’s operations.
Under this programme, $100 million has also been set aside for the reconstruction of the Public Health Ministry’s headquarters. In 2009, the then Ministry of Health’s head office was destroyed by fire and was not considered for reconstruction until now.