News
January 10, 2014
MCMH Paediatric Ward undergoing transformation

The Milton Cato Memorial Hospital’s (MCMH) paediatric ward is expected to resemble a first-class hospital ward in the coming months.{{more}}

These words were spoken by the chief executive officer for the World Paediatric Project, Susan Rickman, in a recent interview with SEARCHLIGHT. Rickman revealed that US$500,000, which is being used to renovate the paediatric ward, was recently donated by a family in Mustique, through the Mustique Charitable Trust.

“To look at what they’re doing right now, looks like any US hospital that you go into,” Rickman said.

“St Vincent will have a first-class paediatric ward of all the most current materials and everything that the doctors and nurses there and the families [need]”.

Chief medical officer, Simone Keizer-Beache told SEARCHLIGHT that the renovation of the ward will be done in stages. She also noted that work has been going on for the past six months.

“They cordoned off the back of the ward, including the paediatric out-patient area and they did the renovations in that section, so we’re using the front of the ward and then when that phase is finished, we will then move to that section and then allow them to renovate that section,” Keizer-Beache said.

The paediatric ward was one of the areas of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) that was affected by the floods of December 24.

Although renovations are underway, nothing in the construction being carried out now addresses the vulnerability of this part of the hospital to flooding. However, Keizer-Beache explained that the hospital has plans to remedy the situation in the future. The CMO also indicated that the hospital carries out certain procedures when there is an alert of heavy rains.

“Prior to this, we had established a system at the hospital where once we had an alert about heavy rains, we had a whole system of preparation. So, we would make sure the drain, the big drain that goes through the hospital is clear, because a lot of the times there is a blockage and once there is a block in that drain, the water fills up and that has triggered a lot of flooding.

“So, we make sure that the drain is cleared, we put up our sandbags and we raise our manholes,” Beache explained.

“We haven’t had a flood in years. The last flood we had was about four years ago and it might even be longer, because we’ve had this system in place, when we were able to do those things which would allow the water to flow under the hospital, and not flood us. Unfortunately, because we did not get an alert, we weren’t able to implement those things”.

Beache stated that proposals that were done by the Public Works Department are being looked at for diverting water away from the hospital. She also noted that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is working on getting engineers to “look at the drainage system again and make recommendations to protect the hospital from flooding”.

Until then, the MCMH will carry out their safety plan as efficiently as possible, which is to raise all equipment in storage onto shelves and to have anything that sits on the ground in watertight containers.

The CMO expressed appreciation to the Mustique Charitable Trust for their help in refurbishing the paediatric ward, as well as for the support from the general public and local, regional and international health care workers.

“Our aim is to make sure that the hospital…because we recognize that even if there will be a new hospital sometime in the future, this is what we have and we have to make it as safe as possible and reduce its vulnerability to flooding and anything that can threaten our major health facility,” Beache said.