President Dr Irfaan Ali and other officials on Sunday turned the sod for the construction of a state-of-the-art world-class New Amsterdam Public Hospital in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) which is expected to be completed within 36 months by European engineering giant, VAMED in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
“I hope in the next four weeks, we start to see piles being driven here…there is very little excuse that can be given since the weather is great and we have built up enough capacity in terms of material in this country,” President Ali said to the contractors present at the event.
This hospital is expected to be a five-level facility and a premier healthcare institution in Berbice and by extension Guyana.
President Ali said the hospital is not just a standalone facility but will operate on a hub-and-spoke mechanism, connecting health centres in the region through telemedicine.
The structure will include a minimum of five operating theatres – one specifically for cardiac surgery – and advanced digital X-ray, and CT Scan machines. It will be the second public facility to house an MRI machine and will be equipped for transplants.
Two additional buildings will be constructed within the compound – one for a teaching facility and another for a modern psychiatric facility.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, in his remarks, highlighted that the new theatre for cardiac surgery will eliminate the need for patients to travel to Georgetown to do such a major surgery.
He said residents can expect the hospital to be equipped with “world-class, top-notch” equipment with 24-hour service at the Accident & Emergency department.
“Today is significant for health care in Guyana. We have been working to get here for a number of months. The President said he wanted to build a world-class healthcare system…what you are seeing here today is the manifestation of the President’s vision for Region Six to have a level five facility,” the Health Minister said.
Project Director for VAMED Engineering, Walter Puhringer, in giving a brief overview of the project, said that works commenced in September 2023 with the design; ground works are expected to begin within the next two weeks.
Thus far, fencing and land-filling have been completed, with actual construction of the facility to start in March.
Puhringer has promised to deliver the project up to the standard required and on time.
Also speaking at the event was the Regional Chairman David Armogan who noted that the construction of the new hospital is an important step for the delivery of a higher standard of healthcare under the government’s plan to develop every sector in the region and country.
“Over the last three years…massive amounts of money were invested in the health sector in region…new health centres are opened and serviced by doctors…patients can also collect their medications from health centres instead of having to go hospitals.
“The waiting time has reduced considerably and the type of complaints we got before it has improved…hospitals have new digital x-rays, we hardly hear about the shortage of medications…our government has ensured that we have a ready supply so that patients do not have to buy.”
The existing New Amsterdam Hospital is the most advanced in Region Six and it is the biggest hospital in Guyana after the Georgetown Public Hospital, which is the country’s main referral hospital.
In Region Six, the New Amsterdam hospital is complemented by the Skeldon Hospital, though a new hospital is also being constructed near the existing one at Skeldon.