Emergency access to medical services are expected to improve in the Region Seven community of Bartica, with the commissioning of a water ambulance.
The water ambulance was handed over to the town by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence. It was built by local contractor, Sunrise Marine Incorporated.C
With an $11M price tag, the water ambulance is equipped with all that is needed for the vehicle for its use in the effective delivery of health care services in the community and to quickly transport persons in need of additional help to other communities.
According to the Health Ministry, the ambulance will mainly transport emergency cases and referrals from Bartica to Parika and the patient will be transported to Georgetown via the regular ambulance.
Training for river ambulance operators have started and continues to ensure they effectively deliver the requisite services.
According to Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford, the need for the water ambulance was cited since 2006, however, priority was never given.
“We have been back and forth with this particular project and it started since 2006 since then we visualized that we needed a river ambulance… This ambulance will effectively evacuate persons not only from Bartica but those nearby riverine communities.”
During a brief commissioning ceremony, Minister Lawrence noted that it was Bartica and by extension the region which made the step for the acquisition of the water ambulance.
She added that it will not only aid in referrals from Region 7 but also Regions 2, 10 and islands in Region 3. More importantly, Minister Lawrence highlighted that the regional hospital is staffed with specialists and geared with services that cater to cases requiring emergency intervention. These include high-risk maternity cases, accidents and emergency cases among others. The water ambulance will simply aid in transporting those patients in need of a higher level of care.
“While this achievement is a tremendous step for the people and the health sector in region 7… The regional hospital right here in Bartica has all the equipment, all the specialized staff and all the support staff that is able to provide medical services, at all levels, for all the people of Bartica and the adjoining communities”, she said.
The operation of the water ambulance will eliminate the need for the region to contract and rent boats as was the norm for many years whenever emergency cases popped up.