FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas — Most of the 71 government-owned clinics have been assessed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, paving the way for upcoming repairs.
Accompanied by an assessment team of engineers, quantity surveyors, healthcare administrators and providers, Minister of Health and Wellness, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, was in Grand Bahama on Wednesday, August 17 visiting clinics and viewing firsthand what repairs were needed to make staff and clients (patients) comfortable. Also on the tour was Minister of Social Services and Urban Development the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini. “The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) is responsible for the delivery of both tertiary and primary health care. The primary health care network extends from West End all the way to Sweetings Cay.” The Minister added, “When we look at our Blueprint for Change, it is clearly documented where we’re heading [towards] healthcare transformation.”
Many healthcare structures are rundown having been through Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, followed by the global pandemic resulting in a lot of work needed to have them properly functioning to provide the best possible service.
Minister Darville continued, “Today we are on the island (Grand Bahama) doing a complete assessment of all the clinics responsible for providing primary health care. Our first stop is here in West End. We have our engineers, quantity surveyor, mechanical as well as civil and electrical engineers accessing the major components to the clinic to make sure it’s safe and the impact of Hurricane Dorian has not created any major functional abnormalities.
“A quick assessment of the facility (West End Clinic) [shows] the beating of the salt blast has caused some damage. We intend to address that damage and there is some remedial work that needs to be done on the roof. This is all to ensure that we protect the clinic and to prepare for hurricane season. So, we’re here now scoping the West End Clinic so that we will be able to award some contracts and get the facility at a level that we feel satisfied with.” Funding of the work, he said, is as follows. “In coming to office, we had access to two IDB loan facilities – these IDB loan facilities are responsible (for) and will help us to do the necessary renovation and reconstruction of clinics throughout the Family Islands. What I am doing right now, our new budget came into operation and so I’m going through the Family Islands to look at the state of our clinics.
The funding from the IDB loan, he said, will come into effect later this year or early next year — “major works inclusive of construction of additional clinics throughout the Family Islands will begin.” Work, he said, will begin as soon as the assessments have been completed and contractual agreements are done.
While here, the team also investigated manpower deficiencies, namely safety and security, custodial staff, additional nursing, practical nursing assistants and others.
“I am pleased to say in our administration, for the Family Islands inclusive of Grand Bahama, the government has approved some 478 workers who need to be trained. We are in the process of training additional emergency (EMT) specialists who will help us with appropriate ground transportation.
“We need to coordinate our EMT operations on the ground by giving the island of Grand Bahama additional resources, manpower resources they need so that we can do a better job in providing services for the residents of Grand Bahama,” the Minister said. Visiting West End, Eight Mile Rock, Hawksbill and High Rock Clinics while in Grand Bahama, the Minister concluded with, “We will move very quickly. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, and the residents of Grand Bahama can be assured that we will get to this work here in Grand Bahama as soon as possible.”