Minister Lawrence greeted with protests at Port Mourant
Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence was on Thursday greeted by protestors when she turned up to commission the National Ophthalmology Hospital at Port Mourant.
Led by head of the Regional Health Committee Zamal Hussain, the protestors are calling for a proper health care system in the region.
Hussain, speaking with the media, explained that they are protesting the deficiency and inefficiency which exist in the health sector, along with mismanagement, corruption and cronyism in the sector.
Hussain said the people of Region Six are suffering tremendously.
“Diabetic patients’ tablets are being rationed on a monthly basis. Persons who have to get thirty days’ tablets are being given ten days’ tablets,” he said.
Hussain blamed both Ministers in the Public Health Ministry, saying that they have been abusing tax payers’ money on extravagant ceremonies and parading in the region.
“The health sector is in serious problems as it relates to drugs and medical supplies,” he warned.
He said the Ministers, who have the authority to fix the problems which exit in the health sector, have been turning a blind eye to them.
With the problems spread across the Region, Hussain suggested that both Ministers do the honourable thing and resign. He also noted that both the Skeldon Hospital and the Regional Health Department are managed by political activists.
Being reminded by this publication that under the previous administration the head of the regional health sector was also a political activist, Hussain replied by saying that then it was a political activist who was medically qualified.
“This man is not a professional. We have to ensure that we have professional persons to manage the health system. Health is about people’s lives. You cannot give a donkey a mouth organ to blow; he will chew it up, and that is what is happening in the health system in Region Six,” he declared.
The political activist said he would continue to advocate on behalf of the people of the Region. Among the issues Hussain said he will be pushing to have resolved are the lack of basic health care, the lack of an adequate supply of X-ray films, and lack of the necessary equipment to do certain tests at hospitals across the Region.
Structural deficiencies are also listed along with non-performance of cataract surgeries at the National Ophthalmology Hospital. He also referred to a shortage of doctors at several hospitals and vacancies which have been in existence for more than one year.
Asked whether, as head of the Regional Health Committee, he should not be applauding the health sector, since the Minister was in the Region to commission a series of projects, Hussain said he welcomes all of the developments in the region, but the extent of the inefficiency cannot be overshadowed.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence had some comforting words for health care providers. She said the Public Health Ministry tries to provide the best health care for all Guyana.
At the Port Mourant Hospital, the administrative department and waiting area was re-commissioned; so, too, were three recovery rooms, the Department for Eye Care, the operating theatre and the VCT centre; while the upgraded laboratory was commissioned as well as an upgraded kitchen, new X-ray department, upgraded Pharmacy Department, waiting area and shed, male and female wards and a vehicle parking area.
Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings, has urged persons to support the public health system. In a few years, she said, there will be a total transformation of the health system.
“That is why we changed our mane from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Public Health, with the main focus now being on the ‘public’.” She said the Ministry of Public Health is focusing on helping both people and communities.
“So we are promoting health, preventing disease, and there is a renewal of primary health care,” Minister Cummings said.