IN an effort to build a world-class healthcare system, the Ministry of Health is currently exploring tele-medicine, exploring its pilot soon.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, during his address at the opening ceremony of the 42nd Annual Caribbean Association of Pharmacists (CAP) Conference. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Guyana Pharmacists’ Association.
Minister Anthony said that it will be piloted at four sites in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), and will be evaluated at the end of the year.
Depending on the progress, he noted, a wider project will then be rolled out.
With this, health care workers in far-flung region would be able to communicate with doctors in Georgetown to make a diagnosis.
Turning attention to procurement of medicine and vaccines across the region, Minister Anthony told the conference attendees that if each country purchases medicine on its own, the prices will be exorbitant.
By noting this, the Dr Anthony said the Caribbean region should pool its resources which would mean a reduced cost for necessary treatments.
He said that if discussions were to take place among the countries concerning this, the leaders of those countries would be able to strengthen the systems that need work.
He related that building the capacity to manufacture vaccines is important, and in terms of pharmacists, he said legislation would have to be looked over and changed due to the dynamic world.
He noted that in some countries, pharmacists can give injections but in Guyana, this is not allowed and it is something that would have to be looked at.
Meanwhile, the President of GPA/CAP, Kalwattie Datt-Singh related that the conference was held in Guyana because of the high cost of travelling that some pharmacists would have to face to attend the conference.
She said that this was also a chance for local pharmacists to be exposed to international dialogue and new trends.
“This conference is a perfect blend of both education, networking and also building bridges,” she said, adding that the hybrid format of online and in-person attendance saw more than 200 delegates from across 20 different countries attending.
She related that especially with the advent of COVID-19, the practice of pharmacy has changed.
“Pharmacies across the Caribbean region have experienced both strain and stimulations to present unforeseen challenges, and demand innovation.
“Whatever challenges we face, we responded accordingly and were transformed from traditional medication experts to playing a more critical role in the healthcare system.
“This unprecedented transformation presented a silver lining, where opportunities now exist for us as pharmacists to maximize our potential and values,” she said.
She noted that the role of pharmacists can now be summarized into three categories as primary caregivers, specialty care, and now digital. (Cassandra Khan)