Kamwatta village faced with drug shortage, illnesses among migrants – Toshao

…construction of main access bridge delayed

The small village of Kamwatta Hill in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini), has been plagued by a number of alarming issues, from the delayed construction of the main access bridge to inadequate medical supplies, which are yet to be addressed.

One of the trucks stuck along the bypass last week

Speaking with Guyana Times on Monday, Toshao of Kamwatta Hill, Maurice Henry stated that complaints were being raised by health officials about the shortage of medicines for quite some time. It was also a trending shortcoming among previous healthcare workers. The village is currently inhabited by 377 residents and over 60 migrants, making accessible healthcare essential.
“There is shortage of drugs for a long while. There’s a young health worker who recently started working and he said he hasn’t received any kind of drugs in adequate amounts although they made requests. When the former health worker was there, we used to get complaints about the shortage of drugs,” Henry noted.
He said this issue comes on the heels of various sicknesses among the migrants, who have set up camps and were offered refugee status in the community. While the language barrier continues to challenge their communication with locals, officials cannot provide for these persons and have opted to offer land for farming.
“Since they [the migrants] came, the Village Council tried their best but we couldn’t afford because we don’t have money to support them wholly. The Regional Council give some food supply seven times. Right now, they are faced with diarrhoea and vomiting in the camp. The language barrier with us and them is a little difficult. We can’t really understand clearly,” the village head explained.
Meanwhile, educational facilities are yet to be opened to the migrants, since regional officials are relying on Government to establish a segregated facility for school-aged Venezuelan children.
“On the education side, we were asking some time ago if we cannot have the children enrolled at our primary school. The education officer said that they have some setbacks unless the Government has a separate place for them.”

Kamwatta Bridge
Along with healthcare and migrant glitches, infrastructure continues to pose a challenge in the village and surrounding areas. For one week, two trucks belonging to the Guyana Water Incorporated were struck along a bypass route since the Kamwatta main bridge was dismantled for repair works.
Consequently, Henry indicated that planks along the bypass structure were damaged after the vehicles were removed on Saturday. Already, bus operators have complained that the structure is unstable.
“The trucks were removed but they left some damages to the part that the contractor made. The small bypass where the trucks was fastened damaged now and I get a complaint that some of the planks is not in good condition. It’s quite shaky,” he informed.
Works on the Kamwatta Bridge was expected to commence since July but this publication was told that this operation never commenced.
“For a long while, the contractor came and dismantled the bridge. It has been two months now and nothing has been done to fix the right bridge that he was contracted to do. I received a copy that the contract was signed since March and the work was supposed to commence since July. Nothing has been done so far on the bridge.”
Initially, persons within the village had requested for an alternate road to be rehabilitated, instead of using a bridge. The Toshao expressed that using the mainland route through the Wauna Oil Palm estate was more effective for the locals but this idea was never considered.
He said, “It has another main road but it is not in full usage. That road runs through the Wauna Oil Palm estate. We had asked that if that could be renovated and upgraded because that is mainland. It doesn’t have no bridge and we thought that would be more recommendable but nobody come to our assistance for that.”
This publication understands that without the main bridge or a suitable makeshift bypass, there is no connection to leave the village.