Pres Ali assures of world-class healthcare system in 7 years

…as National Medical Scientific Council to be established

– Guyana now offers revolutionary stem cell services at Woodlands Hospital

In a move that revolutionises healthcare in Guyana, the Woodlands Hospital on Saturday launched its stem cell services and immunotherapy – becoming the first in the country to offer such ground-breaking medical technology to the population.
Managing Director of the Woodlands Hospital, Dr Neville Gobin said this new service revolutionises the treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases.

President Dr Irfaan Ali addressing the gathering

According to Mayo Clinic, stem cells can be guided into becoming specific cells that can be used in people to regenerate and repair tissues that have been damaged or affected by the disease.
People who might benefit from stem cell therapies include those with spinal cord injuries, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, burns, cancer and osteoarthritis.
Stem cells may have the potential to be grown to become new tissue for use in transplant and regenerative medicine.
Consultant on Internal Medicine at the Woodlands Hospital, Dr Pramod Tempe – during the launching ceremony – shared his personal experience of using this modern medical technology. The doctor noted that he suffered from an illness that caused him to be “partially handicapped” and experience incredible pain in his spinal area.
However, after accessing stem cell services – wherein stem cells from his bone marrow were injected into his spine – he benefitted from significant relief.
“Today, I am standing in front of you without pain and almost disease-free,” Dr Tempe noted. And these are the type of services that Woodlands Hospital will now be offering to the public.

World-class healthcare
However, President Dr Irfaan Ali – delivering feature remarks at the event – described the institution’s new venture as “bold and innovative”, noting that the public healthcare system has to play a supportive role in these types of medical undertakings.

Launch of stem cell therapy and immunotherapy services at the Woodlands Hospital on Saturday evening

Noting that stem cell services are highly effective when there are early diagnostics, President Ali posited that, “the public healthcare system must be able to support diagnostics in a very early stage…once that occurs, the science must now be implemented at that early stage.”
“The systemic approach must provide the pathway in which the science is applied at the early stage.”
The Head of State shared some of the initiatives that the Government is embarking upon to ensure the healthcare sector is modernised, including the introduction of telemedicine which has resulted in two lives already being saved.
According to President Ali, 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 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.

Area for growth
Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, who was also at the event, shared similar sentiments, noting that the public healthcare sector has to “up its game”.
He expressed that the goal for Guyana is to be one of the places in the Caribbean and Latin American Region to be pioneering this type of medical technology.
Noting that this is an area for potential growth, the Health Minister said the Government will continue to do everything it can to support the medical private sector in such modern ventures.
In fact, the introduction of stem cell services in Guyana would not have been possible without the January 2022 passage of the Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Bill which provides the legal framework for the removal of human organs, tissues, cells, and biofluids for transplantation and blood transfusion.
“The whole idea here is that we can start developing this part of medicine in Guyana…Woodlands has taken the first jump in bringing stem cells to Guyana and applying that to patients…people are recognising that Guyana is ready for this type of medicine,” Dr Anthony remarked.

National Medical Scientific Council
Meanwhile, as Guyana’s medical sector grows, the establishment of a National Medical Scientific Council was also announced by President Ali.
This Council, he 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”.
In fact, the Head of State underscored the importance of medical science, and its relation to medical care, facilities and technology.
“Because it evolves as a science, it is tested, it [involves] things that change continuously, that help to give you better care, that help to develop better technology. So, if the science is dead, then care is dead, if the science is dead, the technology is dead, that is why we now must move to this new level.”
According to the President, Guyana’s medical corps can match medical talent anywhere in the world.
“I’m of the very strong view that with the type of human resources we have in the health sector here, and I have interacted with many of our doctors, the combined ability of our medical corps, the core group of our medical talent in Guyana can match any medical talent anywhere across this world, I’m convinced of that and I want Guyana to know that the fundamental core of our medical system can stand up for itself and can represent itself, I’m very convinced about that,” he affirmed.
Moreover, the President noted that such new medical developments would not have been possible without the legal regulatory platform through which science can evolve.
“Nothing here could have been discussed if we didn’t take the steps forward, so modernising the legal environment in which urban and regional planning, medical science, and all that we are doing will evolve are exciting things but requires time and effort, it requires a lot of reading, it requires application of theory,” he outlined.