A revamp of healthcare facilities in Wakenaam, an island situated in Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region 3), is imminent. This announcement was made recently by Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence at a community engagement held at Maria Johanna, Wakenaam on June 30.

At that forum, the minister shared plans for a scoping team to visit the island’s healthcare facilities and explained that a move in this direction will help her ministry to identify “where the deficiencies and the gaps are and with whatever projects we can have revisited by the Ministry of Finance in our half-year review…We’re going to take on that to ensure that we can address as many as we can.”

In an invited comment, the Public Health Minister spoke further about the healthcare facilities on the Essequibo island stating, “Wakenaam is one of those areas where people are asking for upgraded services. We are aware that the health facilities that were built and exist now…there was no futuristic plan within the building.”

This, she explained, has resulted in the buildings not being properly equipped with a reliable power supply. However, through a collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Minister Lawrence vowed to ensure the mitigation of these deficiencies.

Furthermore, the minister highlighted transformative plans for Wakenaam Cottage Hospital. “We want to do a whole rearrangement of the hospital. We would like to see the hospital having in-patients. They cannot do so now because they do not have any electricity, and they do not have any backup system.”

The scoping team is expected to visit the island during the course of this month and, after their assessment which is expected to last no more than three days, a report will be submitted to Minister Lawrence.

Wakenaam is one of the largest islands in the Essequibo River. Its main economic activity is agriculture, including rice, coconuts, and vegetables. During the recent visit, Minister Lawrence was accompanied by her Cabinet colleague, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson.


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