Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday commissioned a $27 million maternity waiting home in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), which aims to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the region.
Minister Anthony said the newly-renovated structure is part of a larger initiative that will ensure mothers and their babies are in a safe environment. He said many women have been delivering their babies at home, and during 2019-2020, this resulted in at least one death.
“Our aim is to ensure that you don’t have any deaths at all and to make sure that that happens, we would like to have mothers from far-flung areas come closer to the hospital and in this case… would be in the hospital compound.
This building is going to offer that space where they could come and stay for a couple of days and then when you deliver your baby, if there are any complications or so you can stay here, and then you go back to your respective villages.”
The Lethem maternity waiting home had previously housed seven beds. Following the renovations, capacity was doubled. There are now seven beds for prenatal and seven for postnatal women.
“I think looking just from the outside, I think we got value for our money. So, I want to thank the team, the IDB/Ministry of Health team that would have supervised this project, managed this project, and brought it to fruition.”
The project, which was executed by Builders Hardware, General Supplies and Construction, commenced in September 2020. It is part of a five-year US$8 million Maternal and Child Health Improvement Project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. The project was signed in 2016, and targets Regions Three, Four and Nine.
In 2019, a maternal waiting home was built in Annai, South Rupununi, Region Nine.
Director of Primary Health Care Services at the Ministry, Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton and Region Nine Chairman, Mr. Brian Allicock also attended the commissioning.