Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital opens first-of-its-kind lab in Guyana
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President Dr. Irfaan Ali and officials of the hospital cut the ribbon to Guyana’s first Histopathology Lab and 128 slice CT scanner (Delano Williams photo)
President Dr. Irfaan Ali and officials of the hospital cut the ribbon to Guyana’s first Histopathology Lab and 128 slice CT scanner (Delano Williams photo)

–President Ali says improvements in healthcare will attract ‘international traffic’

THE first state-of-the-art Histopathology Laboratory in Guyana was launched on Saturday at the Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital, which also obtained the first 128-slice CT scan in Guyana.

Histopathology is the diagnosis and study of diseases of the tissues, and involves examining tissues and/or cells under a microscope. Histopathologists are responsible for making tissue diagnoses, and helping clinicians manage a patient’s care.

Delivering the feature address at the ground-breaking event at the hospital’s East Street, Georgetown location was President Dr. Irfaan Ali, who lauded the Balwant Singh family for their continued innovation and transformation of the country’s health sector.

The Head of State said this kind of investment will further position Guyana to attract international traffic in the healthcare sector.

“We are no longer saying healthcare for Guyanese, because we want to position the healthcare system to be attractive to international traffic,” President Ali said, before going on to explain that providing a global health service can only be possible if Guyana builds the ecosystem and architecture.

“How do we redirect that traffic in a way that can earn foreign currency through the delivery of a healthcare system?

It can only happen if we build the ecosystem; if we build architecture that isn’t present: A modern healthcare platform through which we can deliver the service,” he noted.

President Ali also commended the hospital’s investments in further modernising and reinventing itself to be in a position to function in a competitive healthcare environment.

He noted that healthcare is nothing without good diagnostic capabilities.

“The modernisation of the healthcare system, and the delivery of better healthcare depends on better diagnostic capability; better lab facilities, and ensuring that we develop an infrastructure that gives the doctor enough information to make a proper and full decision as to what the problem is,” President Ali contended.

The President believes Guyana has some of the best doctors in the region, and so, he noted that the government is continuously working to ensure that doctors have access to the type of health infrastructure; not only from diagnostic capability side, but also from a legislative capability.

“Are our laws in keeping with the goal of achieving a modern healthcare system? And that is why we have such an active agenda on the healthcare side in modernising the laws; ensuring that the modern healthcare system is built on a legislative system that supports the advancement,” the President said.

Guyana’s first 128-slice CT scanner (Delano Williams photo)

Meanwhile, Dr. Madhu Singh, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, noted that these advancements represent a significant leap forward in the country’s ability to provide advanced diagnostic services, especially in the fields of cancer and cardiac care.

According to Dr. Singh, in a country like Guyana, access to advanced medical technology is often a challenge.

“With the introduction of this 128 Slide CT scanner, we are taking a giant step towards bridging the gap between our healthcare system and that of the developed world,” she said.

Dr. Singh stated that the equipment has the potential to change the lives of countless individuals in the community.

“The capabilities of this new scanner go beyond anything we have had access to before. It will enable us to perform advanced cardiac imaging, including for those experiencing chest pain, allowing for accurate and non-invasive methods of diagnosis of heart diseases, for example. This is particularly important given the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in our country,” Dr. Singh said.

In addition, the scanner will significantly enhance the hospital’s ability to perform vascular imaging, stroke assessment, as well as trauma assessment, which would lead to more effective and timely interventions, ultimately reducing the long-term impact of life-threatening conditions for patients.

For oncology patients, Dr. Singh explained that the new technology will enable them to identify and monitor various forms of cancer with greater precision, and will aid them in providing personalised care, ensuring that the most effective treatment plans are made available for each individual.

“The 128 slice CT scanner also prioritises the safety and wellbeing of our youngest patients. With minimum dose levels of pediatric imaging, we can ensure that our children receive the diagnostic services they need with the least amount of radiation exposure possible,” she said.

Dr. Singh further noted that the equipment will help to attract and retain talented healthcare professionals, allowing Guyana to build a stronger medical community.

The Histopathology Lab, according to Dr. Singh, represents a significant advancement in Guyana’s healthcare system, as the management of the hospital takes crucial steps towards better diagnosis.

“The components of this histopathology lab work together seamlessly, enabling us to perform comprehensive tissue analysis, and provide accurate diagnosis for various diseases, particularly cancers,” she said.

One component of the lab, Dr. Singh explained, is the vacuum infiltration tissue processor, which is responsible for processing tissue samples.

Dr. Singh explained that the vacuum infiltration ensures that the tissue maintains its structure, and is properly prepared for further analysis. The processor is capable of processing up to 300 samples at a time, making it highly efficient, and increasing the general efficiency of the lab.

Meanwhile, Marsha Metivier, a Clinical Product Specialist at Siemens, a leading medical technology company known for innovation and technology, discussed some of the clinical applications that can be expected from the scanner.

She said that with this scanner, trauma patients would be scanned in a matter of seconds, and be evaluated quickly.

Additionally, the Internal Medicine Specialist at Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital, Kailasa Kumar explained that one of the top five causes of deaths in the world is cardiovascular disease, hence prevention is important.

“The first thing is prevention, so, in order to prevent the heart diseases, what are all the measures that we can do?” he asked.

Kumar noted that the hospital has tests to assess for risk factors of heart diseases, such as diabetes, some different cholesterol levels, and other parameters.

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