MoH launches Hearts Technical Package at Lethem Hospital

In observance of World Heart Day 2022, being observed under the theme “Use Heart for every Heart”, the Health Ministry’s Chronic Diseases Unit has launched the HEARTS Technical Package. This was done on Thursday at the Lethem Regional Hospital in Region Nine, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo.
This package aims to better assist health-care professionals to prevent and detect early cardiovascular diseases and hypertension within primary health care.

Officials at the launch of the HEARTS initiative on Thursday

According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the HEARTS Technical Package comprises six modules and an implementation guide that is of great support to health-care providers. It will also be effective in strengthening the management of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and ensuring that there is reasonable access to continuous, standardised, and high-quality care for people who are at high risk.
Additionally, the package aligns with, and builds on, the WHO Package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease Interventions, and responds to the agreement that sustains effective actions that urgently require the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in Guyana before the COVID–19 pandemic, the Chronic Diseases Unit has welcomed the initiative from PAHO/WHO to have primary health care properly equipped to detect cardiovascular diseases in the early stages. As such, eight pilot sites have been selected to benefit from implementation of the package.
Focal point of High Blood Pressure and the HEARTS Technical Package initiative, Dr Michael Pereira, has emphasised the urgency of having these technical packages implemented, since it would see a reduction in the rate of cardiovascular diseases and premature deaths.
“If we improve the ways we treat, monitor, and look into risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, we can better prolong our patients’ lives,” Dr. Pereira said during his interactions with health care workers in Lethem.
Dr Pereira has also noted that the ‘S’ from HEARTS will soon be changed to ‘D’ to have a component for Diabetes added. Further, he explained that implementation of the HEARTS package at the primary health-care facilities would not only help to reduce the number of patients visiting the Lethem Regional Hospital, but would also help to see which patient is at risk in the primary levels, and to have those patients being properly treated.
“Primary health-care centres play a major role, because that’s where we need to control patients, see who is at risk, treat them properly, and avoid them from coming here at Lethem Regional Hospital,” he has said.
Lethem Regional Hospital was the last of eight pilot sites for the official launch of the HEARTS Technical Package. However, since April, the Chronic Diseases Unit has been developing the initiative of the package within various health centres around Guyana. To date, approximately thirty (30) health facilities have benefited from this initiative, and the Ministry is hoping to have all health facilities benefit.
Dr Delleana Anderson, Medical Superintendent at the Lethem Regional Hospital; Dr Dianelle Drepaul, Coordinator of the Chronic Diseases Unit; Cecil Abrams, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer; and Dr Shelieza Gopie, Technical Officer for Tobacco and Alcohol Control, were also present and participated in the launch of the HEARTS initiative.