24 – Hour theater, more staff & equipment for ‘West Dem’ Hospital

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A doctor on duty in the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) Male Ward
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton interacting with some of the staff at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH), Region Three in the presence of Regional Executive Officer (REO) Azam Mohamed and Regional Health Officer, Vasha Bachan
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton interacting with some of the staff at the West Demerara Regional Hospital in the presence of Regional Executive Officer (REO) Azam Mohamed and Regional Health Officer, Vasha Bachan

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH), which serves as the referral hospital in Region Three, will undergo a significant transformation soon.

The hospital offers medical service to thousands of people residing on the West Coast, West Bank, as well as the Essequibo islands including Leguan and Wakenaam; however while it offers similar services like the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), there is need for some additional services.

In this regard, newly appointed Minister of Public, Dr. George Norton, said the new A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government will ensure key services such as a 24-hour theater are put in place shortly.

“The West Dem Hospital should be of a quality not too different from the Georgetown Hospital, however no doubt more resources need to be available to this hospital,” Minister Norton said during a visit to the hospital on Wednesday, May 27.

The staff of the hospital was applauded for their hard work and dedication, and especially for the hygiene of the entire facility.

Dr. George Norton comforting a patient who is scheduled to undergo surgery
Dr. George Norton comforting a patient who is scheduled to undergo surgery

Minister Norton also interacted with the staff and a number of concerns were raised, including the shortage of drugs and the unavailability of key equipment which force them to refer patients to the GPHC.

The Minister said, “Like so many other areas that affect the health sector in general, like the on and off availability of drugs, medical equipment or materials, it is plaguing this hospital, the issue of catheters, or proper sutures and some essential medications. It’s happening all around. I get that while the authorities (the staff) are conscious of this, they are always willing to do the necessary things to correct the situation.”  

As it relates to the neonatal unit, while there is adequate equipment, there is a shortage of staff.

A doctor on duty in the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) Male Ward
A doctor on duty in the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) Male Ward

“That unit is not functioning and many of times premature babies have to be transferred to Georgetown, we have a shortage of fetal monitors and so on, and those are things we need to put in place as early as possible,” the minister emphasised.

Dr. Norton was also concerned about the maternal unit, which he said needs to be extended and some additional equipment put in place. Additionally, The dental unit also needs an extension and additional equipment.

“The mere fact that your dental surgeons can say that they need three more chairs and I know where I am going to place them, tells you that they are quite familiar with their work,” Minister Norton said.

Another issue raised was the fact that nurses who were trained four years ago have not been appointed by the region, and as a resulted are not remunerated in the correct scale. Minister Norton stressed that this issue immediately needs to be corrected because frustration can prevent the nurses from performing at their maximum.

The Versailles Health Centre
The Versailles Health Centre

Meanwhile, a visit was also made to the Versailles Health Centre; this facility was constructed in 2010 on a wide expanse of government’s land, and according to Minister, yet it is cramped for space, which causes the staff some discomfort. This issue will be rectified shortly, he said.

He noted that with proper accountability and maximum utility, health services provided to the citizens of Region Three can be greatly improved.

The Minister was accompanied by the Regional Health Officer, Vasha Bachan, Regional Chairman Julius Faerber and Regional Executive Officer (REO) Azam Mohamed and other regional officials. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

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