President, Irfaan Ali has affirmed that the opening of the Mabaruma Smart Hospital in Region One on Monday represents a major step forward for the transformation of the country’s health sector.
The smart hospital, which was retrofitted for approximately US$750,000, is among five hospitals upgraded through the Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean Project, a collaboration between the Government of Guyana and the United Kingdom (UK).
The project is funded by the UK Government through UK Aid, with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization as the implementing partner.
A smart hospital refers to a medical institution that offers efficient and up-to-date medical services while also being climate resilient.
Mabaruma Regional Hospital now features a new Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, a renovated recovery room, a state-of-the-art Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a refurbished kitchen, a sterilisation room, and two surgical theatres.
At Monday’s opening ceremony, the President announced that some $125B will be invested in the upgrading of medical facilities in the region and a number of hinterland communities over the next three years.
He said that upgrades will give the “best possible working conditions” and provide the areas, which include Lethem, Kato, Mahdia, Kamarang, Mabaruma, Moruca, Bartica and Port Kaituma, with “the best possible access to healthcare services”, which is what will help to transform the country.
“We have gone across the country, and we are uncomfortable with some of the facilities out there that people come to have healthcare services. That is why we’re making it very clear that every facility must have some basic services…proper waiting areas and washroom facilities are key; an environment that is clean, an environment that is conducive for the delivery of good healthcare and not one that you feel afraid to come in, not one that is not up to par.”
Of the G$125B, about US$20m will be spent on the infrastructure upgrades at Moruca, Mabaruma and Port Kaituma.
Further investments will also be made in building human resources as well as ensuring the availability of medical supplies.
“These are major investments that we’re making, but we are committed to doing this. We said that the revenue from the oil and gas sector must be used to give our population the best possible health and education services, and that is what we’re doing. Regardless of where you live, you must have access to quality education and quality healthcare. This is our commitment to the people of Guyana.
The President who adjusted the salaries of healthcare workers last week, told the medical workers in Mabaruma that they are an integral part of the health upgrade and urged them to “perform at the highest level”.
“We expect you to perform at the highest level, and I urge you to use this increase to recommit yourself to the people, to the patients that you care for, to recommit yourself to your profession, to recommit yourself to giving the best you can to the people that you see every single day. That is all we ask of you to do—recommit yourself to this.
He assured that the Government will continue to invest in their education and training.
“As I speak to you now we are working on many other collaborative partnerships with partners across the world to bring even more training for you, taking your game a bit higher because the smart hospital is just one part of the equation. We need smart people, we need a smart type of thinking, we need a smart approach, and we need a smart vision. All of this will allow the facility itself to be optimally utilized when all of us collectively re-strategize and rethink how we deliver health care. So we hope that these investments will continue to make a strong impact on the lives of people.”
President Ali also expressed gratitude to the UK Government and PAHO/WHO for their continued support in Guyana’s healthcare restructuring, modernization and transformation.
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony and UK High Commissioner, HE Jane Miller OBE also spoke at the hospital’s opening.