Orealla-Siparuta gets $14.5M water ambulance

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony with officials

In a significant boost to medical emergency response, the riverine communities of Orealla-Siparuta on Saturday received a new water ambulance to the tune of $14.5 million.
The state-of-the-art vessel was officially commissioned by Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, who emphasized the Government’s commitment to improving healthcare in remote areas.
Handing over of the new water ambulance came on the heels of a major fire explosion in March that destroyed the community’s previous watercraft in the Corentyne River. In response to that misfortune, the Health Ministry prioritized replacement of that craft to ensure the communities have uninterrupted medical services.
According to Minister Dr Anthony, additional funds were allocated to customize the ambulance, ensuring it meets the specific health needs of the population. This customization included advanced medical equipment, and facilities to enhance patient care during transport.
“This new water ambulance will significantly improve our ability to respond to medical emergencies. It is equipped to handle critical patients, and will facilitate their transfer to the Skeldon Regional Hospital for specialized care and treatment,” has been the communities’ response

The newly-commissioned river ambulance

Acquisition of the water ambulance is expected to dramatically improve healthcare outcomes for these remote communities, providing a reliable means of transportation for patients requiring urgent medical attention. The initiative underscores the Health Ministry’s ongoing efforts to enhance healthcare accessibility and quality across Guyana.
On March 11, 2024, the Orealla River Ambulance went up in flames while traversing the Corentyne River not far from Orealla. Reports are that eight persons were on board the craft at that time. Thankfully, only one was seriously injured. Gavin France, a Government 10-day part-time worker attached to Orealla Health Centre, had reportedly suffered second-degree burns to the right side of his chest, hand, and face. The other persons who received minor injuries are Pamela Chacon (a wound to her left foot); Ganesh Shivmangal (a wound to his left foot); Berto Jabar (wounds to his right toes) and Brentnal Herman, who received a wound to his right foot.
The ambulance was returning from Corriverton, after taking a patient to the Skeldon Hospital. That patient was eventually transferred to the New Amsterdam Hospital.
The last river ambulance was acquired in October 2018 at a cost of $22.4 million, and had been used to service the twin villages of Orealla and Siparuta, situated some 50 miles up the Corentyne River.