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Upgrade for classroom in Children’s Ward

While the Children’s Ward at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) grapples with significant infrastructural issues, the Paradise Children’s Foundation has stepped up and renovated the ward’s classroom.

The overhaul was the result of a $10,000 public/private partnership.

“We started off last year where we were doing afternoon events with the children because we realized that there were no activities for them,” said Charlotte Gibson, a representative of the foundation.

“But as we were up here in the room, we recognized there was a need that was available and so we offered to do something with the room.

“So we came up here, met with the teacher and had a look and we felt the size of the room was something we could manage because we all have jobs and this is all in addition to what we do as our regular work.

“So we took it on and worked with the hospital and have put it together and here we are finished six-months later.”

Gibson said the foundation is also looking at doing a family room for the ward, so that the children can have a place to sit with their families when they come to visit them.

Principal of the hospital’s school, Kimlyn Hanna, said the number of students fluctuate based on when they are admitted and released at the hospital.

“It’s a school away from their school,” Hanna explained.

“It’s a continuous education program. It’s from grade one to grade 12. We give them GLAT exams, BJC [and] BGCSE exams here in the hospital.

“If they have end of term exams I would go and collect their exams and administer it here in the hospital to the students…I have the Ministry of Education’s curriculum and so I keep them abreast of their school work, at their grade level.”

Thelma Rolle-Fernander, the hospital’s assistant director of communications, noted that the hospital is looking at more private/public partnerships to aid with the much needed renovations for the Children’s Ward.

The ward has been in a state of disrepair since sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

A tour of the east and west balcony yesterday showed that the room is still being used as storage for disregarded furniture. Additionally, the roof, walls and floor are in desperate need of repairs and replacement.

The seemingly abandoned ward can hold up to 50 patients, ranging from six months to two years old.

Rolle-Fernander appealed to corporate Bahamas to lend a hand.

“The reality of it is, we do need to get what you see behind me renovated for these kids to be able to get back into the space that they so desperately need to be cared in,” she said.

During his contribution to the 2019/2020 budget debate, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that the government is currently in negotiations with an entity to restore and reopen the ward.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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