…Govt spending $100M in each region to improve healthcare delivery – Dr Anthony
Even as another private hospital has opened its doors, this time the US$5 million Sheriff General Hospital at Leonora, West Coast Demerara (WCD), Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has assured that public sector healthcare is being addressed robustly by the Dr Irfaan Ali-led Administration.
Dr Anthony explained that on the public side of things, roughly $100 million has been allocated per region in Guyana to upgrade primary healthcare facilities. He noted that this is why patients will notice improvements as they visit these facilities.
“On the public side, what are some of the things we’re doing? We, very early, decided that we have to improve the infrastructure of all our health facilities. And starting from last year, the President has allocated $1 billion so that we can start fixing all our primary care facilities in this country.”
“So roughly we allocated $100 million per region so we could improve the primary healthcare facilities. This year again, we got for each region another $100 million. And so you will see as you go to the various health centres, you would start seeing that type of improvement in the waiting areas and the things we are doing,” Anthony said.
According to Anthony, with the introduction of this new hospital it is expected that less persons from the region will feel the need to travel all the way to Georgetown for medical treatment. In fact, the reverse could happen as persons travel to Leonora to visit the hospital. The Government is also engaged in building new hospitals, including one on the West side.
“We also recognise that while primary healthcare is important and we want to ensure that we can deliver more services at the primary healthcare level, it’s also important that we improve hospital care. And in this region, one of the big investments the Government is making is to make a new hospital, on the Government side, at De Kinderen.”
“And some people might say why are we going to De Kinderen? But we see the population growth in the Tuschen/Parika area. And many persons who come from the river who need that kind of healthcare, they would easily be able to get health care at De Kinderen. That project has already started. We had land, we already cleared the land. And very shortly, construction will commence.”
Dr Anthony stressed that the Government’s investments in healthcare is not restricted to Region Three. Indeed, he noted that President Dr Irfaan Ali has recognised the need to improve medical care in other regions as well.
“And so, a similar hospital is going to be built in Lima. Another one is going to be built in Diamond. One is going to be built at Enmore. Another one at Bath. And another one at Number 64 in Region Six.”
“As you know, we want to provide the best services for our children who need those services. And so, one of the other projects we have that is currently being constructed, is a maternal and child health hospital at Ogle. And that hospital will have sub-specialty in various areas of paediatrics,” Anthony further explained.
Advances in the healthcare system in Guyana have been galloping along. Only a few months ago, Woodlands Hospital launched its stem cell services and immunotherapy – becoming the first in the country to offer such ground-breaking medical technology to the population. At the time, President Ali had made a commitment that by 2030, Guyana will offer healthcare services that are internationally recognised.
“In the next seven years, we are not trying to, by the grace and help of God, in the next seven years we are building in Guyana, a First World healthcare system for our citizens and a healthcare system that is fit for purpose and one that will provide global healthcare services for the rest of the world. Mark this night,” the Guyanese leader had declared.
“There is no rest in this sector in getting it to where we want to be.”
Moreover, he said as more and more innovations take place in the sector, he called in financial and medical specialists as well as policymakers to start discussions on modern health insurance plans.
He had also announced the forthcoming establishment of a National Medical Scientific Council. This council, President Ali had noted, would bring the country’s best medical talent to investigate “not old technology but the best-in-class medical science development that can be applied in Guyana to help us here”. (G3)