GPHC gets $474.6M pathology laboratory

…to reduce waiting time for diagnosis, enhance patient care

With cutting-edge equipment such as pathology scanners and tissue processors, healthcare service delivery at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will be massively enhanced through its new state-of-the-art Pathology Laboratory.
The $474.6 million lab was commissioned by President Dr Irfaan Ali on Sunday morning. This multimillion-dollar facility aims to significantly reduce waiting time for diagnoses, and improve patient care through telepathology, which is the digital transfer of high-resolution images between distant locations for diagnosis, education, and research.
There have already been marked improvements in turnaround time from biopsy to diagnosis. Previously, the results of a biopsy took approximately three months to become available. This time has been reduced to less than seven days at the GPHC. Moreover, with this pathology lab, the waiting time is expected to be further slashed to 48 hours.
The project is a collaborative effort between the Health Ministry and Mount Sinai Health Systems.
Delivering the feature address at the commissioning ceremony, President Ali underscored the importance of Guyana partnering with institutions such as Mount Sinai in closing the gaps within its healthcare system through the introduction of new and modern equipment.

Use of technology
“The digitisation and the use of technology and the deployment of technology is an important tool in helping us to close this gap [in the healthcare sector]. And today, we are seeing a scenario where we are utilising this tool with Mount Sinai to close this gap that exists – a gap that will make monumental changes in the delivery of quality health care, from 30 days to between 24 hours and seven days. That means a lot to the patient, that means a lot to the treatment regimen. But importantly, it also allows us to embrace a more equitable platform in the delivery of health care by having this lab available to us in Guyana,” he stated.

President Dr Irfaan Ali; Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and other officials being given a tour of the new $474.6 million Pathology Lab at the GPHC

According to President Ali, the new Pathology Lab is one of many interventions that his Government is making to improve service delivery at the city hospital, which, he noted, will undergo massive transformation in the future. He pointed to the need for Government to invest in a new CT scan given the increased load at the GPHC. The hospital currently conducts a minimum of 35 scans per day, and as such, the Head of State noted that adjustments would be made this year for a second machine to be procured.

New MRI facility
In addition, efforts are also underway to procure a new MRI facility – which the Guyanese Leader noted – is critically needed at the public hospital. “So, we want to examine the possibility of bringing to GT Hospital, a trailer-type MRI facility that is available on the market,” he noted.
However, even as Government continues to heavily invest in the GPHC, President Ali noted that the burden on the hospital has to be reduced. It is for this reason, he pointed out, there have been heavy investments in enhancing the infrastructure, the capacity, and the level of service at regional and sub-regional hospitals across the country.
“We are not satisfied with the level of service at regional and sub-regional Hospitals. I’ll be very frank with you, we have to, and we must, improve the level of service at regional and sub-regional hospitals. We have no other choice… And with the investments we are making, the population deserve to have a better quality of service,” the Head of State noted.
Among some of the interventions already taken to boost capacity at these regional facilities is the procurement of 15 digital X-ray machines. President Ali noted that seven more of these machines were on the way and another 25 digital X-ray machines would be purchased this year. He added that new regional hospitals at Lethem, Linden, and Bartica would also be equipped with CT scanners.
“These additional investments will, no doubt, help us tremendously in advancing care and moving many steps closer to the development of a world-class health-care system and facilities here in Guyana,” he posited.
According to the Head of State, these investments are geared towards making Guyana a regional healthcare hub with first-class services not just for the Caribbean but further afield.
“In building ahead of time, we have to build a healthcare system that is capable of servicing a population of at least 2.5 million people in the medium term. And it may not be 2.5 million people living in Guyana, but 2.5 million people that will need to pass through the economy of our country, that would rely on our different services, including health care,” the President underscored.

More accurate data
Meanwhile, also speaking during Sunday’s commissioning ceremony was Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, who added that the operation of the $474.6 million Pathology Lab will assist in updating the country’s cancer registry with more accurate data.
“With this Pathology Lab, we realise that these tests that we need to do if we are going to advance how we treat cancer in Guyana are not just about doing the imaging, but we need to make sure that we can do the various types of testing to differentiate the types of cancers. We can look at which type would be more responsive to which type of treatment, and once we are able to do that, then we would have better outcomes. This laboratory will assist us to do that,” the Minister explained.
GPHC Chief Executive Officer Robbie Rambarran; Resident Representative of the World Bank Group for Guyana and Suriname, Diletta Doretti, and Chief Transformation Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, Arthur Gianelli, also delivered remarks at the ceremony. (G8)