This article was written by Jasper Ward and published in the Nassau Guardian on November 6, 2019.
It will likely take at least two years to reconstruct the Rand Memorial Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, according to a recent report by Build Health International (BHI).
The report was compiled for the Ministry of Health and Direct Relief, a nonprofit focused on healthcare for individuals affected by emergency situations.
It was completed on Friday.
“Rehabilitation of Rand Memorial Hospital should also be an immediate priority, but will likely take more than six months (and full reconstruction would take more than two years),” the report read.
“Immediate rehabilitation and reconstruction of the eastern clinics will provide necessary care to isolated and severely damaged communities, while simultaneously reducing the service delivery burden on Rand Memorial Hospital through duplication of lower-level services.”
It adds, “Damage to health infrastructure on the west end of Grand Bahama is minor and easily remedied. Unfortunately, damage at Rand Memorial Hospital and on the east end of the island is severe and in some cases catastrophic.
“Given the limited access to care and the current and anticipated utilization of Rand Memorial Hospital, rehabilitation of Freetown Community Clinic, High Rock Clinic, Pelican Point Clinic, and McClean’s Town Clinic should be an immediate priority to help decongest Rand Memorial Hospital as well as provide access to care for the residents of the east end of Grand Bahama.”
According to the document, 80 percent of the hospital was inundated with flood damage.
It notes that rust and mold have started to develop in areas affected by flooding.
The report pointed out that there was roof damage, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) damage, and significant damage to the warehouse and morgue.
“Major renovations or building replacement is required, including all utilities,” it read.
“Renovation/rehabilitation will be time-intensive and requires significant coordination with active inpatient areas. Reconstruction will also be extremely time and cost-intensive.”
Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said yesterday that he has been advised that refurbishment of the hospital is expected to begin within the next two weeks.
“This work will be done in partnership with the Carnival Corporation and the organization Direct Relief and the University of Miami,” he said in the Senate.
“Work should be completed within the next six months, which will coincide with the departure of Samaritan’s Purse.”
Dorian – the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas – has caused almost $100 million in damage to the Ministry of Health’s facilities on Abaco and Grand Bahama, according to Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands.
Sands has noted that it will cost roughly $20 million to repair the Rand.