By Kadeem Joseph
Amid a revelation of recent vandalism at the facility, the ministry of health has set its sights on this week for the commissioning of the medical facility at the retrofitted National Technical Training Centre (NTTC) on Nugent Avenue.
The update came from Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph who said a team of officials, including himself, the Minister of Works Lennox Weston and the Medical Director of the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre Albert Duncan, visited the site on Sunday.
“We are hoping that we will commission it this very week… The beds are there, there is water and electricity, so it can be commissioned. Unfortunately, it was vandalised,” he said.
“Some member or members of the public vandalised the building but we are hoping to have everything restored by the end of this week so that if we need the centre it will be available.”
While Joseph said monetary value to correct the damage and complete the facility had not yet been determined, he explained that after assessing the situation at the building, the engineers, architects and other technical team members expressed confidence that work could be completed by the new target.
“The most important thing at this time is to restore electricity. Some of the air conditioning units were vandalised for their copper and stuff like that, but we will be ready,” he assured.
Sir Molwyn explained that the problems at the facility have been “arrested” and measures to address the issues were put in place “at least a week ago”.
The minister said investigations into the incident are still ongoing and that no one has been arrested in connection with the theft of materials from the property.
He said although security was stationed at the facility, vandals were still able to pilfer from the centre.
The commissioning of the Nugent Avenue centre is expected to add 75 beds to the country’s infectious disease management capacity.
There are also 17 additional beds at the Infectious Disease Control Centre, which has been operating at the Holberton Hospital edifice.
The country’s capacity to support a major outbreak of an infectious disease has once again been getting more attention as the twin island state records another increase in active Covid-19 cases.
The latest reporting from the health ministry indicates that there are 185 active cases of the virus in the country. In April 2020, Minister of Works Lennox Weston said builders had been issued a 15-day timeline in which to complete renovations for the NTTC, however the project has been beset by several delays.