THE East Coast Demerara corridor will be able to benefit from several free medical services now available at the Better Hope Health Centre as the medical facility was refurbished to the tune of $25M and reopened on Monday.
The easily accessible facility can be spotted while traversing the East Coast Demerara Public Road and is located a stone’s throw away from the Better Hope Community Centre Ground; it is now equipped with a Maternal and Child Health Centre, as well as other major improvements.
Speaking at a simple ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, said the facility represents “money well spent”, as he is impressed with the quality of work that was executed through a “team effort”.
The move to refurbish the health facility was initiated by the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government after they resumed office in 2020 and observed that the facility was in a dilapidated state after it was abandoned in 2017.
“We thought that it is an important landmark for this community and we need to do something about resuscitating it and making sure that we can deliver quality health service from this facility,” Dr. Anthony said.
The health centre was previously owned and operated by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and its assets were managed by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), which officially handed over ownership of the facility to the Ministry of Health in October 2020.
The requisite funds to transform the facility were not available in the 2020 Emergency Budget, and only the fence was constructed in a bid to protect the premises. The following budget saw the necessary funds being allocated to complete the works for the facility to be fully operational.
“Completing the building, fixing it up, putting in furniture, that is just one part. The other aspect is to make sure that we have healthcare personnel who will be working here and ensure that they deliver good quality service,” Dr. Anthony said.
To ensure the facility delivers quality service, a doctor will be available at the premises on a full-time basis, accompanied by other relevant medical personnel, as well as a pharmacist to dispense medication prescribed by the doctor.
Along with a doctor’s examination room and a fully stocked pharmacy, the facility is also equipped with a Maternal and Child Health section which will serve as a clinic for mothers, pre-and post-natal, and a section of the building will be dedicated to the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Health Minister took the opportunity to remind persons who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony that the deadly COVID-19 virus still has a high transmissibility rate along the East Coast Corridor and encouraged them to take the vaccine as a means of protecting themselves and those around them.
Also at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Anand Persaud, who commended the efforts of the parties involved in the resuscitation of the facility.