By Lakhram Bhagirat
Kwakwani, one of Guyana’s premier logging communities, has been on the cusp of rapid development for a number of years, but it seems as though its only health care facility is yet to be bitten by the developmental bug. And according to the doctor in charge of the institution, Kwakwani Hospital Complex is in dire need of urgent expansion.
Dr Delisa Inniss was posted as the doctor in charge of the Upper Berbice River area in April of 2018, and she has been advocating for better service delivery as well as improved facilities for the more than 600 residents of Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
During an interview with <<INews>>, Dr Inniss said the issue of expansion of the Kwakwani Hospital Complex was recently raised with Public Health Ministry officials.
“We are a small hospital, a district hospital, but we have need for expansion, because our unit is small in terms of space, and it is very cramped. Our Emergency Department can only hold two beds, and the space to manoeuvre around is very limited; so sometimes you will find when we have accidents (that) we cannot deal with more than two patients at a time, and we have to pick and choose and really triage who to deal with first and what’s not,” she related.
The doctor informed that accidents in the area occur more than often, because of the fact that it is a logging community; and therefore the hospital’s capacity is very limited when it comes to dealing with the patients.
Presently, along with Dr Inniss, another junior doctor, who is on four months’ rotation, along with a resident Dental Surgeon, service the residents in the area.
Dr Inniss said the medical institution has ample support staff, which makes the work of the doctors a lot easier. However, she explained that the needs of the hospital far outweigh the services it can offer at this time.
The hospital is equipped with a fully functioning X-ray machine, but there is no technician to man the equipment, and there also is no ultrasound machine or technician. Several requests have already been made for technicians, particularly the ultrasound machine and technician, she said; but despite promises, that is yet to be fulfilled.
Dr Inniss explained that the medical institution has had to transport pregnant mothers through rough terrain to the Linden Hospital Complex every time they need to get an ultrasound done to monitor the health and development of the foetus. In the case of X-rays, she noted that the institution would have to transport patients to Linden to confirm fractures and other things.
“…our antenatal mothers we have (had) to put…through that, just to get an ultrasound to ensure that the baby is okay; and some of them are high risk mothers, and having to go through that is not easy. Sometimes it can put them through preterm labour, so it is a risk. So we have need for some of the things here,” she said.
“Even some of the mothers who are elective cesarean, that could be done here, and it could be easier; because we find that most of the areas (the hospital services) are poor areas and they always complain that they don’t have money to go, and they have nowhere to stay in Linden. So they have to go and come back, and that is a real sore point here,” Dr Inniss highlighted while identifying the need for a General Surgeon to be stationed at the hospital.
In terms of the building expansion, Dr Inniss said Minister Volda Lawrence would have committed to that, along with the construction of an operating theatre.
Additionally, the doctor said, the delivery room is in need of expansion as well.
“Our Delivery Room is even smaller. There is one delivery bed, so only one delivery could be in progress at a time. And sometimes you get cases where somebody is in labour and another one comes, and we have to use another bed. So we have need for that,” she identified.
The doctor also said new vehicles are needed to transport patients, since the ones they currently have would sometimes break down in the trail, and they would have to wait hours for assistance. She said that in some cases they were forced to do emergency deliveries in the vehicles on the trail.