GINA, GUYANA, Monday, August 29, 2016
Twenty (25) health sector specialists are participating in four-day training in the Hospital Safety Index and Green Economy Checklist Course which began today. Persons benefitting from this training will be carrying out assessments at hospitals across the country.
The concept ‘smart hospital’ refers to a health facility which is both safe and green. Hospitals and other facilities embracing this concept must provide standard and efficient health care before, during and even immediately after the event of any natural or other disaster.
The smart hospital toolkit will facilitate existing hospitals to identify and implement low- cost adaptation measures.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, who briefly addressed the gathering at the launch of the training at the Cara Lodge, noted that the vision to see the country revolutionised as a green economy with widespread development in a sustainable manner, has direct bearing on the development of Guyana’s economy into a green one.
The training of Engineers, Analysts, Information Technology Personnel, Health Economists and quality control personnel is a part of the second phase of creating smart health care facilities. These persons trained will be guided by a Green Checklist which will allow them to easily identify areas for evaluation.
The Minister added that, “The objective is to equip participants with the requisite knowledge and skill to conduct the assessment that is required to make health facilities throughout the country smart.”
The Green Checklist comprises categories of water conservation, energy, solid and infectious waste management, indoor environment quality, food services, pharmaceuticals, hazardous materials and the atmosphere.
The US$6M project is being funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DIFID) as part of a US$53M that has been assigned as a project for the development of Caribbean health care facilities.
British High Commissioner to Guyana, Gregg Quinn, noted that, “It is a solid commitment by the British Government to the health sector here in Guyana. I think we can all agree that health facilities provide essential services to our daily life. I think we would also agree that after extreme events, it is absolutely vital that they are able to remain operational. That is what our overall programme of assistance is designed to do.”
High Commissioner Quinn further explained that although investment into the public health infrastructure is costly, it is necessary and vital and will significantly improve resilience across the health sector in Caribbean countries, including Guyana.
Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Health, Trevor Thomas pointed out that, “Persons trained in this programme will have the capacity to provide health care immediately following a disaster… I believe it goes beyond that because many of you may know that Guyana is a very big country relative to its population, a country where majority of the persons are living on the coastland, yet we have our responsibility of providing quality health care across Guyana into its most remote areas.”
Thomas added, “It (smart health care facilities) should be sustainable, it should be manageable, it should have the right mix of resources that is money, material and man power. It must be accessible even in times of crisis. Its resources must also have the capacity to be renewable, renewable energy for example. This is important because Guyana is rich in energy and sometimes as we look at our health facilities, a number of them, we are now including solar facilities, I think that we can start embracing other benefits of nature; wind, water and the sun.”
PAHO/WHO representative, Dr William Adu-krow questioned, “We have smart phones, and we have smart cars, why can’t we have smart hospitals?”
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings added, “These health care facilities will be disaster ready; in fact they should be operable in the face of a disaster, so all in all I know that this training will be a very good one.”