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…Min Anthonly slams coalition for incomplete Covid-19 Hospital
A frustrated Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony is disappointed that though the $1.6B Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to fight COVID-19 was commissioned on July 30, it lacks the basic staffing and equipment to be operable.
He told the media on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of Ministers of Government on Wednesday that the facility is a “shell” which his Administration will have to conduct further works on to ensure its usefulness to coronavirus patients.
What we have there, it’s a tragedy,” he told reporters. “The former President launched this hospital [and] there is no staffing structure in place; the medical doctors that will be working there, none of them have been told, they don’t know where they will be coming from.”
He averages that a minimum of 20 doctors will be needed at the Center along with technicians and other workers. Added to this, he said that the necessary medical equipment such as ventilators are not present.
“None of that is there. So, basically, as I said, we have a shell and if they are going to be able to utilize that then they’ll have to be able to do some more renovations to put in these things like oxygen and centralized suctions and all of that plus, you have to buy all the equipment in terms of beds, ventilators, the consumables, a whole host of things,” the Health Minister said.
Dr. Anthony had plans to visit the Centre dubbed the ‘COVID hospital’ today along with a technical team to get a better assessment of the situation. He made it clear that the facility is not fit for a person who has contracted COVID-19 to go seek medical attention, citing additional issues with air circulation.
At its commissioning, it was stated that the Center has a 190-bed capacity and would cater to future outbreaks and epidemics. The facility is housed in what was formerly the Ocean View International Hotel.
“Our tertiary institution, the GPHC has about 500 beds and that represents approximately 36 percent of all hospital beds in the country with an occupancy rate of 99 percent. This situation assessment deemed it necessary and beneficial for the country to have a designated facility for any surge in patient-load caused by the COVID-19 situation,” former Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence had explained.
However, Dr. Anthony believes that much more work is outstanding at the Center and assured that this will urgently be taken up the PPP/C Administration. He said that when the assessment is completed, he will make further representation to President Irfaan Ali.