Guyana’s first infections diseases hospital was commissioned this morning at Liliendaal where the Ocean View Hotel once stood.
The new hospital will serve as the premier institution for the quarantining and isolation of persons, who have been infected with the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other infectious diseases.
At the Commissioning, President Granger noted that coronavirus has brought about a new reality that health institutions need to be much more prepared for infectious diseases.
He said this day will be etched in Guyana’s medical memory as the day when the country demonstrated its determination to defeat this deadly disease not for a day, or a year, but for the coming decade and beyond.
“We have, today, made an irreversible decision to employ our personnel and deploy our resources to protect our population from disease and to promote public health. Today, life on earth is confronted with one of humanity’s gravest health challenges for more than one hundred years. The COVID-19 pandemic – an event which no country anticipated and for which few could pretend to have been adequately prepared – has brought the death and disease completely unanticipated to millions of persons in every continent,” he noted.
The President said the establishment of this Infectious Diseases hospital represents an essential and urgent investment in safeguarding people’s health, not just against the coronavirus pandemic but also against future communicable epidemics.
“Your Government has crafted a national response to the pandemic. This institution is an essential element of the emergency response. Government recognised the urgency of having an institution, which could be dedicated exclusively to providing treatment to coronavirus patients”.
The new hospital will ease the burden placed on other public hospitals across the country. It will be able to isolate and treat more than 190 patients at any one time.
“We must continue to observe the rules of social distancing, by wearing face masks and practicing good hand hygiene. We will win the fight against the COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Exercising personal and social responsibility will help keep our people safe. Human lives are our most precious resource. Human health is being threatened by the increasing incidence of transnational infectious diseases. These diseases, unfortunately, are not expected to disappear completely. The country’s public health systems, therefore, must never be found deficit in responding to emerging communicable diseases,” he noted.
The President commended and expressed gratitude to all frontline workers especially doctors, nurses and other professionals in the medical field, who he said have demonstrated their care for humanity in such a difficult period.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, in her remarks, said the facility was necessary. She noted that while there are 27 hospitals countrywide, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the only referral hospital, provides all services and has only one Intensive Care Unit (ICU) catering for critical care and respiratory and cardiac support. The other hospitals, she said, lack intensive care facilities especially in the area of respiratory support, which is imperative in the fight against COVID-19 complications.
“Additionally, the District and Regional hospitals only provide basic inpatient services accounting for 64 percent of the beds in the country. Our tertiary institution, the GPHC, has about 500 beds and that represents approximately 36 percent of all the beds in country, with an occupancy rate of 99 percent. This situation left us in a quandary. Due to these challenges, it was deemed necessary and beneficial to have a designated facility for the surges in cases and for the control and prevention of future epidemics and pandemics,” she said.
This facility, she said, should be able to remove the constraints from the GPHC and the District and Regional hospitals that do not have the capacities and capabilities to address infectious diseases. The facility can cater for 200 staff, 190 beds and boasts a kitchen, incinerator, surveillance unit, pharmacy, isolation unit, quarantine unit, admin office and Health Emergency Operations Centre, among other features.
Dr. William Adu-Krow, Country Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) said he is confident that this facility will improve the quality of infrastructure and services to patients and staff as the world continues to battle COVID-19.