By Bibi Khatoon
The doctor in charge of the Upper Berbice River is calling on the authorities to fast-track the extension of the Kwakwani Hospital and to assign various personnel to the facility to help them to better serve the community.
Sharing her experiences of having had to deliver babies on the trail leading from the upper Berbice community to the Linden Hospital Complex, Dr. Delisa Inniss recently told the News Room that the hospital is currently without a Surgeon, an X-ray Technician and an ultrasound machine –all of which are critical to its operation.
To access these services, patients are required to travel over 65 miles to the Linden Hospital Complex.
Dr. Inniss explained that during the rainy season it takes four to five hours to travel to Linden.
“We have our anti-natal mothers, we have to put them through that to go just to get an ultrasound to ensure the baby is ok and some of them are high-risk mothers and to go through that, it’s not easy –sometimes it can put them into pre-term labour,” Dr Inniss told News Room.
Dr Inniss is stationed at the Kwakwani Hospital and said there are times when the vehicles assigned to the medical facility will break down while transporting pregnant patients. In this case, the babies will have to be delivered on the trail.
Dr. Inniss believes with an ultrasound machine, and a General Surgeon assigned to the facility, certain trips to Linden will be eliminated.
However, she also pointed out that this ties into the expansion of the hospital as there will still be the need for a theatre since the delivery room at the hospital is also too small.
Currently, “there is only one delivery bed (so) only one delivery can be in progress at a time and sometimes you have cases when one person is in labour and another one comes and we have to use a normal bed,” the Head Doctor said.
The emergency room is no different, as Dr. Inniss said there are times when the medical practitioner is forced to “pick and choose” patients as the room can only hold two beds.
“The space to manoeuvre around is very limited so you find sometimes we have accidents and we can’t get to deal with more than two patients at a time and then we have to pick and choose, like really triage who to deal with first,” she explained.
A team of doctors and technicians from the Linden Hospital Complex visits the community of Kwakwani fortnightly but they only spend one day. During this day, x-rays are done and other special cases are dealt with.
However, Dr. Inniss said if there’s an emergency, there is no option but to make the 65 miles trip to Linden.
She noted that a Technician was requested for the hospital as it already has a fully functioning x-ray machine but “we’re waiting for them to fulfil their promise.”
She told the News Room that most of the patients complain about being unable to afford transportation cost to Linden more than once.
Some residents of Kwakwani also complained about a shortage of drugs at the hospital. They noted that while some of their diagnosis may be right, there are times when the required medications are not available to treat the complaints.
While the doctor admitted that the hospital may run out of drugs before the date for the replenishing of drugs, she said there is no shortage.
Dr. Inniss said the hospital receives drugs every month and has everything available. She noted that there are rare cases where specific drugs are not available at a certain time of the month but substitutes are issued.
The Head Doctor took the media to the hospital’s pharmacy to show that drugs are in stock.
In September, Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence assessed the Kwakwani Hospital where she promised that the Linden Hospital Complex Health Management Committee will be looking into matters affecting health care delivery at the health institution.