‘Broken’ health system gets new life under PPP/C
Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony (DPI photo)
Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony (DPI photo)

–undergoing world-class transformation, Health Minister says

MINISTER of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony has said that the task of the government is not only to fix the broken health system that was left by the previous administration, but to also transform it into a world-class system.

Making his contributions on day two of the 2023 national budget debates, Minister Anthony said several projects set out in this year’s budget will continue the health sector’s transformation, which commenced after the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) entered office in 2020.

The minister related that this transformative agenda came after five years of broken promises by the APNU+AFC administration.

Against this backdrop, he noted that among the litany of promises made by that administration, was for the setting up of a paediatric cardiac health facility, a state-of-the-art hospital at Liliendaal, a new lab for the food and drug department and even a mental health institute, none of which were delivered to the people of Guyana.

Dr. Anthony said: “This is their legacy, a lot of broken promises, but absolutely no delivery, this is what incompetence and mismanagement looks like.”

With that said, he mentioned that since entering office, the government has taken up the task of not only fixing what was broken, but also embarking on a transformative agenda which would see the country’s healthcare system transformed into one that is world-class.

Dr. Anthony said, the government, between 2021 and 2022, upgraded some 250 health centres and health posts across Guyana, and has collaborated with the Pan American Health Organisation to develop a comprehensive package of services to deliver more than 216 interventions at these health posts.

These interventions, he said, includes maternal and child health care, working to put improve diagnosis for infectious diseases and chronic non-communicable diseases, providing immunisation and ensuring that citizens can be provided with eye screening, dental check-ups and screening for hearing aids.

As it relates to eye screening, Dr. Anthony said that the government began the distribution of some 4,500 spectacles to communities in the hinterland, thus easing the burden on persons in the hinterland.

Additionally, he said that even up to last year, persons who were in need of hearing aids would have had to pay $65,000. However, more than 500 persons were screened across the country and hearing aids were delivered to them free of cost.

In this year’s budget, he said the government intends to deliver another 1,000 hearing aids for persons who need that service across the country.

In relation to the hinterland communities, he said that his ministry has provided approximately 31 all-terrain vehicles, 14 ambulances, 24 boats and nine motorcycles to improve the transportation of medical personnel and patients within those communities.

Added to this, he mentioned that some 200 health workers were trained over the last two years to supplement the teams in those communities.

“This is what progress looks like… all that I just spoke about was fixing the things that they broke,” he said.

Meanwhile, in relation to fostering the transformation from rudimentary to world-class, innovation and the application of technology are required.

With this in mind, Dr Anthony said, the government has started remote e-medicine clinics in several hinterland communities, which will see those persons having access to doctors in other parts of the country through the use of technology.

This programme, he noted, is being piloted in four communities in Region Nine and will be expanded as stipulated in the 2023 budget.

The Health Minister further outlined that while in the past many district hospitals did not have surgical theatres, new theatres have been constructed at eight facilities across the country.

For the further expansion of services at various facilities, he even mentioned that some 13 new x-rays will be installed at facilities within the next six months.

Six new regional hospitals will be built at various locations, and each will have over 75 inpatient beds, modern theatres, new accident and emergency areas, new imaging suites and more.

A seventh facility, he said, will be added at Bartica in Region Seven, for which the design has already been started and will feature similar amenities.

To this end, he said that the government will continue on its path to equip the health sector with the necessary tools inclusive of human resources to continue the transformation to a world-class health system.

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