Health care reaching unprecedented heights, places

Dear Editor,
How easily people tend to miss the ‘taken-for-granted’ things of any society, and more so Guyana. The positives, necessary and many, are all over Guyana, but I will focus in this letter on the medical burgeoning across the land.
First, I see that Region Nine is set to get its first nursing programme. This is a really big move. The logistics of this is something to behold, as Guyana is not densely populated, and the authorities cannot just think ‘per capita.’ Number to places and personnel is not for Guyana, as the remote and sparsely populated areas have to be catered for. So, commendations are in order.
Let me remind all that nurses play an essential role in society in so many areas of health care delivery. Overall, they are advocating for health promotion, educating the public and patients on preventing injury and illnesses, participating in rehabilitation, and providing care and support.
At the global level, health challenges are changing and becoming increasingly complex because of ageing populations with chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular, hypertension, diabetes and mental health conditions) that place difficult demands upon healthcare systems around the world. Thus, it is necessary to have effective workforce strategies that promote recruitment, retention, and sustainability of qualified nurses. The world urgently needs to properly meet these increasing demands, and this Region Nine project is a good example, where Guyana is contributing to the universal health coverage, and specifically Guyana.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, must be lauded for being in the forefront, launching Nursing Assistant Programme at the Lethem Training Annex in Region Nine. This is ‘a first’ in the region, and, according to Director of Health Sciences, Dr. Seraiah Validum, 28 students from Region Nine, along with five from Region Eight, are being trained to be qualified Nursing Assistants.
As pointed out by Dr. Anthony, “Guyana’s massive economic development will require a significant upgrade in the health sector…” and that is why enormous resources were allocated in the 2022 National Budget for this purpose. This is called ‘planning ahead.’ It leads me to another area in health care locally, and I will close on that.
I speak here of the input regarding the patients suffering from kidney failure. As we all know, globally, many patients are suffering from kidney failure, and they need plenty of money to be treated. In Guyana, some patients need between two to three dialysis sessions per week. The issue here is that dialysis costing is like between $12,000 and $15,000 per session, making the overall bill for patients a whopping $1.248 million to $2.34 million per year. This is absolutely prohibitive, but we are now witnessing the beginning of the “Dialysis Support Programme, the financing of which is $600,000 per annum worth of dialysis treatment for “each and every dialysis patient” in Guyana.”
This programme would provide much needed assistance to almost 300 persons at a cost of $180 million. This, as reported in the dailies, “…will be a significant reduction in the economic burden these patients face, as it will help to keep them healthier until they can achieve a transplant.”
On this ‘transplant’ note, Dr Kishore Persaud, Head of Department, Multi-Organ Transplant and Vascular Access Surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, must be admired for his tenacity and intuition. He was really behind that much-needed human tissue transplant legislation, which is really a revolutionary piece of legislation, completely overhauling and improving the health sector while providing a gamut of benefits for persons requiring organ transplant. In a nutshell, Guyana can now perform cadaveric transplantation; this is, “…the transplant of tissue from ‘brain dead’ individuals, or cadavers as they are referred to, to living persons.”
So, I urge the negative-minded to be fair and observant. Guyana is really on an upward march as regards its delivery of health care. Let the politics not ruin us.

Yours truly,
H Singh