Japan to double US$6M aid grant for NA Hospital reconstruction
By Nivedta Kowlessar
Guyana Chronicle
July 16, 2003

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SOME US$6M more will be injected into the reconstruction of the New Amsterdam Hospital in Berbice, following an Exchange of Notes yesterday between Guyana and Japan, which is funding the project.

The money is for Phase II of the project and will be used to pay for equipment, products and services, training and guidance in managing the new facilities.

Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Mr. Clement Rohee and Non-Resident Japanese Ambassador to Guyana, Mr. Masateru Ito signed the Notes at Takuba Lodge in Georgetown in the presence of Guyanese and Japanese representatives.

“We expect that this project is smoothly implemented and that it becomes a hospital valued by the people of the region, satisfying the local medical requirements,” Ito said just before affixing his signature.

The Japanese Government is providing a total of US$12.3M in grant aid for the project, the first phase of which started in May last and will be completed in March, 2004. It covers the construction of an inpatient facility and utility - laundry, kitchen and security - services.
The second phase, to be completed by March, 2005, involves the construction of a diagnostic centre, theatre and administration building.

Ito noted that the New Amsterdam Hospital has played an important role as a regional core facility of hygienic and medical care. But more than 100 years have passed since its construction and current facilities have become too old for use.

“We expect that this project is smoothly implemented and that it becomes a hospital valued by the people of the region, satisfying the local medical requirements,” he said.

The Ambassador also observed that the effort of the staff in this drive is “indispensable”.

“Although we’ve reached the climax of this project after (yesterday’s) signing, we should never forget that we cannot accomplish a medical service only through newly imported facilities and equipment for the hospital,” he said.

Ito hoped that the aid contributes to the development of hygienic and medical care in Guyana, the prosperity of the country and the promotion of the friendship it shares with Japan.
A grateful Rohee said the “kind gesture” must be seen in the context of poverty alleviation, “a linchpin of all cooperation and development projects.”

The principal object of the economic and technical cooperation between Guyana and Japan is national development and to improve the well-being of Guyanese, he explained.

The two countries have shared friendly and fruitful bilateral relations since forming diplomatic ties in 1969, and Guyana has benefited from grant aid projects, technical training and provision of the services of Japanese experts. The assistance is based on a tax paid by each Japanese, Ito reported.

Rohee said the Hospital project, for which Guyanese, especially residents of the town of New Amsterdam and its environs are deeply grateful, will enhance the relations.

“I’m glad to report that (it) is progressing satisfactorily…land preparation is almost complete and construction is expected to commence shortly,” he said.

Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who witnessed yesterday’s signing ceremony, said workmen were a month ahead of schedule some weeks ago, inspite of rainy weather, and “there is confidence” that the first phase will be completed on time.

The new design of the building is aimed at integrating the hospital’s services, which were dispersed on three floors.

Ramsammy said the theatre, for example, was located on the third storey and with no elevator, it was difficult to manage.

The new hospital would have all services - theatre, inpatient, clinics etc. on one level and administrative offices on the other.

“In terms of style, the present design would cater for all of the services that we provide and (more),” Ramsammy said.