PAHO and Ministry of Health officials meet with members of the press on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

PAHO Head Commends Montserrat’s Handling of Hospital Project, Local Health Advisor Says Needs are Urgent

Dr Godfrey Xuereb, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
Dr Godfrey Xuereb, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)

Dr Godfrey Xuereb, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation on Wednesday commended the Government of Montserrat’s handling of the planned hospital project.

Xuereb was speaking to members of the press following meetings with health officials here. He and his team visited the health centres, the Glendon Hospital and the proposed site for a new hospital.

The official noted that the Ministry of Health’s plans to improve the use of the primary health centres (clinics) and a plan for human resource management and the use of data collected to make decisions was a model which other Caribbean islands could follow.

“The approach is exemplary and will give the ministers and her team the evidence for the decisions they are taking,” he said.

Hon. Minister of Health Delmaude Ryan said the site analysis evaluation has been completed and approved by Cabinet. Hilltop, St. Peters has been selected as the site for the future hospital with an in depth Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted shortly.

1-11-17-paho-pressconf3In February, the consultancy firm Mott MacDonald is to begin the functional review for the new hospital. They are to look at the sustainability of the infrastructure and the human resource needs. An economic analysis is also on the cards as soon as the Ministry of Finance engages a new expert to handle it.

Meanwhile, member of parliament and Health Advisor to the Government Dr Ingrid Buffonge says the situation at the hospital is critical. Buffonge, a practicing physician at the Glendon Hospital in St John said late Wednesday there was a marked shortage of nurses and staff morale was low.

“We also need nursing aides to help the nurses on the wards. The nurses are breaking their backs with work. Nursing aides can help with the general care of patients – bathing, feeding, turning, changing. We have an aging patient population,” Buffonge said on her Facebook page. “It is unfair to expect a nurse to focus on being the only person responsible for a full ward of patients – covering both clinical and general care aspects. Our wards are full of patients who need full care.”

The Independent politician has been vocal about the shortages at the hospital and the need for more equipment and human resources.

The new hospital project, Min. Ryan said will be handled as part of the programme of Government of Montserrat capital projects to be submitted to the Department for International Development (DfID).

DFID had previously approved a Health Care Improvement project which was to cover construction of a new hospital, elderly care, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), emergency response and the acquisition of new health equipment. The project was shut down in 2014 after the PDM Government cited irregularities.