The Rand Memorial Hospital on Grand Bahama will return to some normalcy by early-December, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said yesterday.
The hospital was significantly damaged when Hurricane Dorian ravaged Grand Bahama in September 2019.
“Construction workers have been working tirelessly to complete rebuilding of the hospital,” Thompson said during a press conference.
“The prime minister has announced that $21 million has been allocated for the Rand Memorial Hospital. The hospital will begin to have some normalcy by late-November, early-December.
“The kitchen cafeteria building has been substantially completed with furniture and is being utilized while the cafeteria is 90 percent completed. Medical Surgical Ward [and] the COVID-19 Isolation Unit [are] also completed and will be occupied this week.
“Each room can occupy up to two patients, is fully furnished with beds, tables and equipped with oxygen outlets in the event a patient is in need. This will have a total of seven more beds for COVID-19 patients.
“There has been much development to the main hospital section building. The main corridors, pharmacy, foyer and pediatrics area will be ready for occupancy within the next two weeks.
“The main hospital’s entrance will include a new portico, which is now ready for paving. Arriving patients will have access to be dropped off directly at the front door from the protection of inclement weather.”
Thompson said the hospital will also feature a new pharmacy, pediatric ward and Intensive Care Unit.
He said roughly 150 Bahamian workers are involved in the reconstruction of the hospital.
“While this will not be a new hospital, it most certainly will be a new Rand Memorial Hospital,” Thompson said.
A report by Build Health International (BHI), which was completed two months after Dorian, noted that 80 percent of the hospital was inundated with flood damage.
It also noted that rust and mold started to develop in areas affected by flooding.
Demolition at the hospital began in November 2019.
That same month, Carnival Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health to fund flood damage repairs and basic restoration efforts at the Rand.
It will likely take at least two years to reconstruct the Rand and cost roughly $20 million to repair the hospital.
Before he resigned as minister of health, Dr. Duane Sands said he wanted to make a new hospital for Freeport happen within the next two and a half years.
In June, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government had not scrapped plans to build a state-of-the-art hospital on the island.
Yesterday, when asked about that project, Thompson said, “What’s happening at present is the hospital authority is conducting assessments. Those assessments are geared toward the location of where a brand-new hospital could be.”
He said a portion of land has been cleared on the side of the Rand.
Thompson said there is also vacant land that is owned by the Public Hospitals Authority.
“So, as I understand it, an assessment is being conducted as to the best location for a standalone brand-new hospital,” he said.
“Once the assessment is completed, then plans will be put in place as to moving ahead with that brand-new hospital.”