–as National Assembly approves $67B allocation
CLEARING the way for the continuation of the modernisation of Guyana’s healthcare sector, the National Assembly on Thursday approved the sum of $67 billion for the Health Ministry to continue its mandate.
This sum was approved as the National Assembly dissolved into the Committee of Supply for Day Four of the consideration of estimates for Budget 2023.
As Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony stood before the committee to defend the allocation made to his ministry, he revealed that the various sums cater for the continuation of the technological transformation and expansion of services offered at various health facilities among other things.
Answering questions on a specific allocation of some $754 million, he noted that the sum at reference caters for the procurement of software for the ministry’s information department, which includes one from India, called COWIN, that will be used not just for COVID-19 vaccination management, but all vaccines that are used in Guyana.
Additionally, there is a sum for the system that is used at the Materials Management Unit (MMU), along with the licensing fees. Additional software to be purchased includes a Delta Dynamics Facilities management software.
However, the minister indicated that in the same line item concerning the $754 million allocation, there are sums set aside for the consultancy services that are being provided to the Ministry of Health, through an agreement with the Mount Sinai group.
“Those services would include the improvement in the efficiency and management of the Georgetown Public Hospital,” Dr. Anthony said.
In the circumstances, it was stated that it will also help to develop new oncological services, cardiovascular services and more.
“We are also looking at upgrading national guidelines in terms of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases… And they have been helping us to do the electronic health records system, and so a provision has been made here for that consultancy,” Dr. Anthony said.
Meanwhile, the budgeted sums for his ministry also cater for the procurement of equipment and reagents to strengthen laboratories, improve the country’s cold-chain system, and even equipment for facilities to treat COVID-19 patients.
And, to further bolster the programmes carried out at health centres across the country, the minister announced that some $22.6 million has been set aside for programmes to target the prevention of cervical cancer, which includes the rollout of the HPV vaccine.
Sums of money have also been set aside for the procurement of insulin to cater for a number of diabetic patients, inclusive of some 183 children. Added to this, $6 million has been set aside for the treatment of persons with kidney diseases, while $12.9 million has been set aside for respiratory management programmes.
In relation to the improvements to be made on the health science education front, Dr. Anthony noted that there are intentions in this budget to move the current registered nursing programme from a regular classroom space to an Online one.
He added that the ministry will be partnering with the Coursera platform.
Additionally, he said that included in the $620 million set aside for the provision of nursing schools are the construction of a nursing school at Anna Regina, and the retrofitting of existing facilities like the New Amsterdam Nursing School.
With the planned move to an Online platform, he mentioned that there will be a need for simulation centres to give those in training the practical experience they need as part of their learning.
This is aimed at boosting the human resource capacity within the country’s health sector.