By Michel Outridge
EVEN though it is a health post, it provides professional medical care for the community and those farther afield, who would seek the services provided by the friendly and mild-mannered staff at the Zeelugt health post, East Bank Essequibo.
Midwife Jenny Deochan was on hand to give a tour of the facility and took the time out to allow a friendly interview.
She related that the Zeelugt health post serves a lot of people more than others because of its location; and the area is very populated and many people from other villages would visit to get medical attention.
Deochan added that they provide the services the patients seek despite some challenges and with limited staffers.
She stated that they operate as a health facility from Mondays to Fridays from 08:00hrs to 16:30hrs and they have different services every day, but immunisation, home visits, family planning and dressings are done on every working day.
Deochan explained that on Mondays there are admissions of newborn babies, BCG vaccines are administered and postnatal clinics are held. On Tuesdays they have family planning, on Wednesdays is antenatal and children’s clinic and on Thursdays there are infant and children’s clinics and on Fridays there is a chronic disease clinic.
The midwife related that they don’t have an on-staff doctor, but a medex would visit on Wednesdays and Fridays.
They just have a staff complement of a midwife, a nursing assistant, a community health worker, a part-time cleaner and a guard.
Deochan, who hails from Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, reported that she spent 24 years in the nursing profession but was a community health worker for the first 12 years.
The Zeelugt health post, a small building which is incomplete but was opened in 2015, is busiest on Fridays when there is chronic disease clinic and more than 50 patients would pass through.
Deochan explained recently that the front yard was low and used to be flooded when it rains, but was recently cemented higher, however, a ramp for wheelchair patients is yet to be constructed.
The tiling is incomplete and the building is without air-conditioning, especially the room where drugs are stored and serves as the pharmacy.
The yard was also recently sand-filled and cleaned.
“We make do with the resources at hand and try to provide a professional and timely service to patients,” said the health worker.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chair for the Tuschen/Uitvlugt Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Pooramdai Sukhau called Paravin, told the Pepperpot Magazine that she is a local of Zeelugt Village and has lived all her life in that community, which has seen its fair share of development over the years.
She reported that within the community there are ongoing works in North, South and the New Scheme area which is large in size and population.
The councillor added that several internal streets which were previously in a deplorable state were upgraded and works at the two nursery schools will start shortly.
She stated that a walkway bridge linking Zeelugt to Tuschen was completed recently and Community Infrastructure Improvement
Programme (CIIP) workers are weeding parapets and cleaning drains, canals and trenches.
Sukhau noted that most people in the village work at the Uitvlugt Sugar Estate and it is a place of many small businesses.
“Most of the women here are housewives, but do go out to earn on a part-time basis, cleaning houses and picking shrimps and the youths in this village are unemployed due to the pandemic,” she said.
She explained that many people lost their jobs to COVID-19 and are around doing nothing, while others are trying to utilise their skills to make their livelihoods right in the community.
Sukhau added that the Community Policing Group would do night patrols in the village and they work along with the police to ensure that residents are safe.
She disclosed that a plot of land was allocated for the construction of a police station within the community, but that is yet to happen.
The 42-year-old stated that as a child the place was like a jungle and swampy and she used to walk bare feet to school some distance away.
“Life was simple but hard back then, and I used to live in a small shack with four siblings and my parents so I know all about being humble; but today things are different and upgraded,” she said.