NO public health system would be complete without emphasis on preventative care because it is central to universal health coverage, said Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.
“In Guyana prevention is at the centre of our health strategy,” said Minister Lawrence at the launch of Health Expo 2019 at the Sophia Exhibition Centre on Wednesday evening.
The theme of the expo, “reaching for a better life with good health” is synonymous with the ministry’s agenda, said the minister, adding that it outlines the mandate of delivering quality healthcare services.
In order to achieve their goal, the ministry has appointed focal points to work with regional officers in every region. According to Lawrence, the vision of the ministry in moving forward is to identify the existing gaps in the health sector.
The ministry also intends on providing all the health amenities to the hinterland regions since people on the coastland have been benefitting for years. “Everyone must enjoy a life characterised by wellness, fitness and health…the President in his address at the inaugural health expo last year reminded us of the indisputable connection between good health and good life,” said Minister Lawrence.
She said the constitution of Guyana entitles every citizen to have access to free primary healthcare coverage. And, the ministry has been delivering the requisite services through various programmes and projects such as the health expo.
According to Minister Lawrence, primary healthcare is seen as the basis and medium through which universal health coverage can be achieved. In an effort to deliver primary healthcare, the ministry has increased the number of health centres being commissioned across the country.
The ministry has added two health centres to Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and two to Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), while three centres are expected to be established in Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
Health centres improve the ministry’s ability to counter the incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by educating the population on healthy lifestyle choices.
“We must approach lifestyle diseases frontally,” said Minister Lawrence, adding that the expo is also one of the initiatives geared at achieving this goal.
The expo allows the ministry to reach more persons and interact with the public on a wider level. It improves accessibility to health services. Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, commended the Public Health Ministry for staying on the right track to achieving a better life with good health for all. “Good life and good health are indispensible to each other…we can have any other resource and amenity but without health, the value of everything else is dismissed,” said Allicock.
He believes that the good health of the nation is the pillar for real development of the country and the government remains committed to doing its part to ensure that every citizen has access to proper medical services. Allicock said the Government will provide proper medical services which will enhance the medical and physical growth of Guyanese.
“At the government level we see the commitment with the growth of the health budget by over $10 billion from 2015 to 2019,” said the minister, noting that the ministry has taken drastic steps in the fight to ensure that Guyanese are healthy. He said one such step is the expo which the minister anticipates will draw Guyanese from all walks of life. Some of the services offered at the expo include: testing for malaria and dengue, immunisation, women’s and elderly booths, blood donation booth and much more.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Colette Adams, said the expo will be run for three days and will be opened from 15:00hrs to 22:00hrs.
She encouraged the public to capitalise on the opportunities which will be offered throughout the expo.