By. E.J. Rolle
With renovation repairs to the Rand Memorial Hospital almost completed, the hospital is still open to accepting donations and contributions towards its budget, which is said to rank in the millions of dollars.
The original budget of repairs to the hospital following Hurricane Dorian, was set at $19 million, but as work on the project began, it was discovered that the pipes within the hospital were old metal pipes, many of which had been corroded. That meant more funding was needed to replace the old metal pipes.
The $19 million dollar budget had to be increased.
With a MOU by Carnival Corporation to assist, the government proceeded with renovations at the Rand. However, the Covid-19 pandemic, which affected the entire world, forced work at the hospital to come to a halt. Later last year, renovations were restarted, but with a limited staff working on staggered shift because of the pandemic.
“It had been a long process because of the covid-19 pandemic, but work was finally restarted and now the hospital is set to reopen soon,” Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Kwasi Thompson announced just a few weeks ago, during a press conference.
“While it will not be a new hospital, it will certainly be a new Rand.”
The cafeteria building has been substantially completed, with furniture and is being utilized, while the cafeteria is 90 percent completed. Much development has been done in the main hospital section building.
The main corridors, pharmacy, foyer and pediatrics area is expected to be ready for occupancy within a few weeks. The hospital’s entrance will include a new portico, which is now ready for paving. Some of the highlights of the newly rebuilt hospital include a new isolation center, pharmacy, pediatric ward, ICU, surgical ward and a new medical ward.
In addition to support from the Carnival Corporation, a number of other companies have donated to the renovation efforts at the Rand. On Friday (February 19, 2021) Scotiabank Bahamas Limited presented a $30,000 check to the Rand Memorial Hospital as a part of their donation.
The donation was held at the main entrance to the hospital.
“Scotiabank wanted to contribute to the restoration efforts of the hospital, particularly to help purchase much-needed equipment for the Pediatric Unit,” said Roger Archer, managing director of Scotiabank. “We know that it has been a really difficult time over the past two years between Hurricane Dorian and Covid-19. The hospital has been doing excellent work and we want to continue to contribute to the efforts of the hospital.”
Mr. Archer said that they wanted to ensure that the Rand Memorial Hospital was in the position to help the community overcome Covid-19 and he is hopeful that the $30,000 donation will help with the purchase of a ventilator, oxygen monitor machine and two pediatric wheelchairs.
Also on hand for the presentation was Hospital Administrator at the Rand, Sharon Williams, who thanked Scotiabank for its tremendous support. She added that it has been a year since the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, but noted that tremendous progress has been made on repairs.
“We are well on our way to recovery,” said Ms. Williams. “As you can see, the facilities are much further in the restoration process. It is through the support of the Bahamas Government and partnerships with companies and organizations like Scotiabank that we are able to provide more effective care for the community of Grand Bahama.
“A number of upgrades to the renovation have taken place and we are happy with what has been accomplished thus far.”
Following the presentation, Mr. Archer and other executives from Scotiabank were given a tour of the renovations, specifically the new Pediatric Unit.
Another special feature of the new renovations at the Rand Memorial Hospital is the addition of the Covid-19 Isolation Unit in the Medical Surgical Ward, which have already been completed and is presently occupied.
According to Minister Thompson, each room in the Isolation Unit can occupy up to two patients, is fully furnished with beds, tables and are equipped with oxygen outlets, in the event a patient is in need. There are expected to be a total of seven more beds for Covid-19 patients.
Close to 150 Grand Bahamians have been hired to work on the reconstruction of the Rand Memorial Hospital. According to Minister Iram Lewis, top of the line construction companies were given the job to reconstruct the Rand. He said that ensuring top-notch professionals to work on the hospital was a priority for the Government.
It is expected that bed capacity at the Rand will increase following the renovations, inclusive of the Isolation Unit.
Prime Minister Minnis toured the work being carried out at the Rand during his recent visit to Grand Bahama. It was one of many stops the Prime Minister made while on island. He said that he was happy with the progress that was being made on the work at the Rand.
While touring the facility, Dr. Minnis announced that his government plans to move ahead with designs for a multi-storied addition to the Rand.