2021 budget will revolutionise health services in hinterland – MP

– says PPP Govt will increase number of doctors, introduce ATV ambulances

Government MP Dr Vishwa Mahadeo

During Day One of the 2021 Budget Debates, members of the National Assembly were told of how the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government intends to revolutionise health services in the hinterland, with strategies ranging from increasing doctors to All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) ambulances.
On Monday, PPP Member of Parliament and Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo announced that this comes after directives from President Dr Irfaan Ali. According to him, the charge to lift healthcare standards in the hinterland is one that Regional Health Officers (RHO) have embraced.
“In my visits to the hinterland communities, I have come to the conclusion that services offered to our people there are minimal. I was shocked to learn that quite a lot of pregnant women conclude their pregnancy without ever getting a blood test, to determine even their blood count. This is a travesty,” he said.
“His Excellency, after interacting with communities across this country, has asked that all efforts be made to bring the healthcare services in the hinterland up to par. The PPP Government in this term is determined to make major changes. The needs of the people in the hinterland must be met.”
According to Dr Mahadeo, the Government will be building facilities and providing novel services in the hinterland. For instance, he pointed out that for the first time, the Government has provided rehabilitation specialists at the Bartica and the Mabaruma Regional Hospitals, in Region Seven and Region One respectively. Meanwhile, a therapist has been identified to go to Region Eight.

“We must make services available to our people living in the hinterland, by building facilities, providing staff, providing transportation for staff and patients and training more persons. All of this is being done in this year’s budget, Mr Speaker,” Dr Mahadeo said.
“(The RHOs) are working to ensure that over the next few years, all pregnant mothers in the course of the pregnancy must be offered the opportunity to have their bloodwork done, be seen by a doctor at least once, have a dental check at least once, have at least one ultrasound and to know her status with a VCT counsellor among others.”
He further outlined that they are aiming to have 30 doctors appointed in Region One before the end of the year, which would be an increase from 11 doctors pre-August 2020. Included in this bunch, Dr Mahadeo said, would be at least 10 specialists.
“And to give them also ATVs and for the first time, introducing in the hinterland region, ATV ambulances for the difficult terrain. Five will be going to Region One. Three boats and engines, one ambulance.”
“Region Seven will be getting 33 doctors instead of 18. Region Eight would be getting 14 instead of three. Region Nine would be getting 33 instead of 18,” Dr Mahadeo further informed the House.
The doctor also spent some time talking about the work the Government has done on the National Ophthalmology Hospital at Port Mourant, East Berbice-Corentyne, which completed 16 successful surgeries earlier this month in one day.
“In 2014, there was no backlog of cataract cases in Guyana. We have already identified over 1200 cataract cases. This is an indictment of the APNU/AFC Government. Two weeks ago, after major works to the building and equipment, the National Ophthalmology Hospital started doing surgeries once again,” he said.