Georgetown, Guyana, August 11, 2022 (PAHO) – As part of the Smart Health Care Facilities in the Caribbean Project, the upgraded Leonora Cottage Hospital was officially handed over to the Ministry of Health. This Smart facility is one of five health care facilities in Guyana being retrofitted to become safer, greener, and more resilient to natural disasters and climate change. It is the third facility to be completed, following the Diamond Diagnostic Centre in April 2021 and Lethem Regional Hospital in October 2021.
On November 23, 2020, Contractor Correia & Correia Ltd. started the retrofitting works, which despite being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, was completed on January 31, 2022.
In addition to the project scope of works, the Ministry of Health funded other works, including the construction of a new generator room, renovation of the kitchen, storage bond, maternity ward, laundry room along, with the extension of an external shed pharmacy waiting-area and eye care department. They also provided Medical equipment such as ultrasound machines and dental units to improve the accessibility and delivery of quality health care. These works were completed in August 2022.
The Leonora Cottage Hospital has new safety measures as well as green technology and improved patient flow.
The safety upgrades included the replacement of damaged roof frame members, repairs replacement of damaged floor finishes, doors, and windows, the introduction of antimicrobial floor surfaces in critical clinical areas, upgrades to the electrical network, the introduction of firefighting apparatus, and improvement of fire detection devices.
The green upgrades provided for more efficient cooling, ventilation, and waste management, boosted rainwater harvesting systems and stormwater drainage and installed LED-lighting solar water heaters.
The functional upgrades included the construction of a new 1000 sqft. Pharmacy complete with bond area and the construction of a new external ramp to facilitate safe movement from the ground floor to the top floor. Other works include:
- An improved ambulance bay.
- New emergency room.
- Expanded records room.
- Emergency triage.
- Isolation room.
- Reception and screening room.
- New consultation rooms.
- X-ray room.
The waiting room was also expanded to accommodate more patients. The new spatial layout greatly improves the movement of patients within the outpatient area.
Hon. Brigadier (retired) Mark Anthony Phillips, Prime Minister, Guyana, said, "This a proud moment for Guyana, as the recommissioning of this facility into a Smart Health Care Facility was completed after two years of responding to a pandemic. This project is an example of the Government's mission to a people-centered approach to development as the five hospitals being retrofitted under this project were strategically identified across the country in both coastland and hinterland areas.
This project covers facility upgrades that make our hospitals and operations more resilient and environmentally friendly, and the realization of this initiative means that our caregivers and care recipients can be assured that the medical facilities will be available and working when they are most needed, especially during disasters. The project directly supports her majesty government Caribbean strategy goal to address critical climate resilient infrastructure gaps and strengthen instructional capacity, and Guyana is happy to be a part of this initiative".
Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health, told the gathering, "We are extremely pleased to be here today to recommission the Leonora hospital as a functional Smart Facility. The Smart Hospital initiative is a Caribbean-wide project, and we are thankful that Guyana was able to benefit by having five hospitals retrofitted. Thanks to our partners, the British Government, for giving us the resources; it is because of these resources that we can upgrade these facilities, and I also want to thank PAHO/WHO, it's the first time they have been involved in such projects. Generally, they are a technical agency providing advice. Still, they have done a fine job in the management of this project, and it is the combination of this aspect that has led to the success of this project and why we are here today".
Ms. Jane Miller, British High Commissioner to Guyana, told the participants: "I am thrilled to be here for the handover of this critical upgraded health facility and see its transformation. Leonora is the third of five facilities that have completed their retrofitting. Our UK grant aims to improve health services by ensuring health facilities are resilient to vulnerabilities, such as challenges as a result of climate change.
COVID -19 has highlighted the importance of ensuring the health system is resilient to unexpected problems that may come
along. The improvements will require careful and timely maintenance to continue operating and deliver their services most effectively."
Mr. Daniel Albrecht, Health Systems and Services Advisor, PAHO/WHO, Guyana, remarked: "This is a significant day for PAHO/WHO, and we are happy to be here to celebrate this moment with you. The Smart Hospital Project is innovative, and the first of its kind to be implemented in the region and is funded by the United Kingdom and implemented by PAHO in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. It is important to note that apart from retrofitting the facilities, PAHO conducted training to equip the hospital staff to manage and maintain these smart facilities. This facility serves approximately ninety thousand people living in Leonora and surrounding communities. PAHO/WHO is committed to the project's success, which will ensure that all members of the communities can receive the best quality of healthcare possible while promoting environmental sustainability for safer, greener, and smarter healthcare facilities."
The £46.3M Strengthening Health Facilities in the Caribbean (Smart Hospital) project is currently implemented in 7 countries: Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Saint Vincent, and The Grenadines, Belize, Guyana, and Jamaica. The project is funded by UKaid through its Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office in the Caribbean and implemented by PAHO in close collaboration with the Ministries of Health of the selected countries. Along with Diamond Diagnostic Centre and Lethem Regional Hospital, the other health facilities to be retrofitted under this project includes the Mabaruma District Hospital and Paramakatoi Health Centre, which is expected to finish during the third quarter of 2022.