Ripas breaks ground for women and children's facility


THE new $57.3-million Women and Children Block at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (Ripas) Hospital promises to meet the high demand for paediatrics, obstetrics (maternity), and gynaecology services in the country.

Having officially begun construction yesterday, the new block is scheduled to be completed by October 2013. It will have eight floors, housing the First Class Ward, Obstetrics Ward, Paediatrics Ward, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Ward, Maternity Ward and Suite, Children's Clinic, Obstetrics (Maternity) and Gynaecology Clinic and Pharmacy Counter.

Minister of Health Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof, , who was present as guest of honour at yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony, said that the project was largely sought after to relieve pent-up demands at women and children wards in the hospital.

"We have identified that this new block is needed because the hospital receives so many patients and the wards are not enough," he said. "We need it to be completed, Insya Allah, by the year 2013," the minister said.

The new block will provide 283 additional beds to take on the rise in patients, of which 153 beds are for the women wards and 126 for children. "Already as it is, we are very overcrowded," said Head of Specialty of Pediatrics Dr Elizabeth Chong. "We are finding that our services are expanding, the number of specialised services for children have been increasing and we need space for facilities for these new services," she said.

Taking for example new-born babies who have undergone surgical procedures, Dr Chong said, "We have more who are surviving longer and having to stay... up to three months, we basically need more beds to provide the care needed."

Dr Chong said that with the completion of the new Women and Children Block, new services for childcare will include Paediatric Intensive Care and High Dependancy Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care and Children Oncology. She said the new block has been something they've been waiting for and that it will "definitely enhance their services for children."

Dr Hjh Roselina Dato Paduka Hj Yaakub, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G), said new facilities are needed to meet with more complicated care of patients at the hospital. "Procedures have been becoming more complicated with the rise of chronic diseases, workloads are more complicated."

She said that new facilities would be able to increase standards of services for patients. With the new block, Dr Hjh Roselina expects more outpatient procedures and services would be introduced.

"We can do more procedures that we don't have at the moment."

Dr Hjh Roselina asked for public cooperation during the construction of the facility. "We expect there will be a lot of disruptions, there will be a lot of noise and comfort of patients will be disturbed," she said adding, "I hope they can be patient and tolerant because this is for their benefit."

The Women and Children, located next to Block Lima at Ripas which includes the current paediatrics ward, will span over 36,200 square meters.

The building will also have two basement car parks to further alleviate parking woes in the hospital.

The new block is one of the Ministry of Health's main projects currently undergoing. According to the Ministry of Health, the new block which provides an arena specifically for women and children will also reduce infection risks at the hospital. The Brunei Times
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