Berbice Chamber concerned about state of NA hospital By Daniel DaCosta
Stabroek News
September 27, 2001

The Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association has expressed deep concern over what it describes as "the most unsatisfactory conditions prevailing at the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital".

In a statement issued on Monday, the Chamber called on the Regional Democratic Council of Region Six and the Ministry of Health to take urgent steps to improve the physical and other facilities to enable the institution to provide the quality of health services required by East and West Berbicians.

The business organisation said it was also concerned about the inadequacy and unreliability of the water supply to wards at the hospital.

"The woeful lack of maintenance to the building," it said, "is evident in the leaking roofs and the general appearance of the building."

According to President of the Chamber, Ramesh Maraj, a team visited the hospital and witnessed "the deplorable situation in relation to water supply. One year after five 800-gallon tanks were acquired for the institution they have not yet been put into use."

"The matter," he said, "was raised with regional and health officials at a Regional Health Conference in August at the Rose Hall Estate Training Centre but to date the situation remains the same."

Maraj told Stabroek News that earlier this week the situation was the same when members of the Chamber visited the institution. "There was no water running in Wards Seven and Three to the toilets and washrooms. Nurses and maids were seen fetching water in buckets up the long stairs to the top of the three-story building." The businessman also pointed out that the roof of Ward Seven is leaking and when it rains patients are severely inconvenienced. Maraj said he was told by regional officials that the water problem was related to an inadequate supply from the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA).

However a source from the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) said he was unaware of the year-old problem since it was never brought to the attention of the administration.

A "master plan", he said, was being finalised to improve water supply and electricity at the hospital. But a source at the New Amsterdam Hospital refuted this statement saying that the administration had been notified "a long time ago" about the problem but nothing has been done about solving it. According to the source the matter was also raised at the monthly meetings of the RDC.

Contacted for a comment, an official of GUYWA told Stabroek News that there was no problem with supply to the institution since the two hospitals and Transport and Harbours Department's two stellings in New Amsterdam are priority locations for the authority. This newspaper understands that the five tanks are inoperable simply because the fittings and installation works have not been completed. Stabroek News understands too that the matter was also brought to the attention of Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy who in turn notified the regional administration.

According to the source at the regional administration office at Vryman's Erven some rehabilitation work is expected to commence shortly at the hospital. However, he pointed out that maintenance of the age-old building has become a costly problem.

The Chamber, noting that there are plans for the building of a new hospital in New Amsterdam, said "this should in no way diminish the need for proper maintenance and repairs to the existing structure which remains functional and architecturally sound." The chamber said it hopes that its plea will not fall on deaf ears and that some improvements will be seen at the hospital soon.