PCS Nitrogen yesterday handed over a US$4 million laboratory to the State, during a function at the Couva District Hospital. Cutting the ribbon are (from left to right) Canadian Ambassador Gerard Latulippe, SWRHA chairman Dr Lackram Bodoe, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan, Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh, and Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial.
PCS Nitrogen donates US$4 million lab
...Health Minister encourages more private sector participation
PCS Nitrogen yesterday donated a US $4 million laboratory to the people of the Trinidad and Tobago.The laboratory is located on the compound of the Couva District Health Facility.
The Canadian-based company, the largest fertilizer producer in the world, officially handed over the lab to the Ministry of Health and by extension the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA).
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan who attended the ceremony said more companies should follow in the footsteps of PCS, which is located on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
He said: " I am open to discussions whereby the private sector can assist in developing our health care sector. I do hope that it is a seed of symbiotic relationship between the private and public sector. We can do more. We are embarking on an era of the PPP, the P3 model, the private public partnership . I say to the private sector, the health sector is experiencing an interesting time with centres of excellence, specialised centres P3 models. Let us talk."
Member of Parliament for Couva South, Rudranath Indarsingh also encouraged other companies to take a page out of the book of PCS Nitrogen and" to assist in not only health care, but education and social services in various communities".
He also called for an upgrade for Couva District Health Facility to include tests such as CT Scans.
Khan said an upgrade was needed and measures will be put in place.
" What we need here is some beds, overnight bed stay. The CT scan is a vital piece of equipment now. It is essential for diagnosis."
Dr Lackram Bodoe, SWRHA's chairman, said the lab will be able to serve 162,000 persons in the Couva region. He said tests will no longer have to be sent to the San Fernando General Hospital for results.
Last year 25,187 lab tests were went to the San Fernando General Hospital- an institution that was already overburdened, he said.
He said the Couva District Health Facility was the most " heavily utilised" of the SWRHA's district health facilities, with approximately 300 patients visiting on a daily basis.
The laboratory will be opened from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Different types of testing will be done, such as a complete blood count, biochemistry testing, kidney and liver function testing and glucose tests. Tests conducted at the lab are free to the public.
The building that is 2000 square feet took one year to be completed. It was built by HDR Architecture Incorporated, a health care architectural firm in the US.
Ian Welsh, managing director of PCS Nitrogen Limited. said " At PCS Nitrogen, we like to participate and partner in the communities which we operate, and looking at a survey of the residents in the area of some of the things that were needed, this came out at the top of the list. "
Both Khan and Indarsingh said the standard of health care at the facility should be kept high and all rules and regulations must be adhered to.
Khan said more focus will be placed next year on upgrading the services of the primary health care system and he hoped the upcoming budget will address those concerns, including dental health care.