THE Canadian High Commission in Guyana, on Tuesday, launched a CAD $2.5 million Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project, which specifically targets care in the hinterland regions and focuses on reducing maternal and child mortalities in those areas.
The project, which is being funded by Global Affairs Canada, was launched at the Cara Lodge Hotel in Georgetown, where it was noted that it is expected to be implemented over five years. The project’s partners include McMaster University and the Giving Health to Kids organisation.
According to the High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, Mark Berman, the programme is a great example of partnership and the strengthening of the partnership between Canada and Guyana.
Canada, he said, is committed to supporting Guyana in fulfilling its goals, one of which is improved health care.
“We are pleased to launch an initiative that supports Canada’s commitment to empowering women and girls, and reflects our government’s feminist international policy… the project is also well aligned to the priority of the Government of Guyana which continues to heavily invest in initiatives targeted in MNCH in Guyana,” Berman said.
He referenced the recent sod-turning activity by President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, for a new specialised peadiatric maternal hospital. The construction of this hospital is happening simultaneously with efforts to enhance facilities to create a conducive healthcare environment for mothers and babies.
However, while this work has been done, Berman said that there are substantial pockets of the population that have been unable to access quality maternal and child health services, and as a result, the project was designed to target the most vulnerable populations in Guyana.
Through this project, the focus will be placed on increasing access to the quality of critical care and support services women and girls in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine receive.
Meanwhile, delivering remarks at the launch, Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, said that the grant is completely aligned with the goals and objectives of the Government of Guyana.
He added that one thing that the government has articulated is that life expectancy at birth is the overarching measure of the kind of health care delivered to the people of the country.
Further, he said that they have set a target of 75 by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and are confident that this target will be achieved.
“But we will not be able to unless our indicators for maternal mortality and child mortality are dramatically improved from what it is today,” Dr Ramsammy said.
He related that no strategy or plan that the government puts together to bring Guyana’s life expectancy to the same as what exists in CARICOM will succeed, unless a robust programme is in place to ensure that mothers can deliver their babies safely and are able to keep the babies alive.
The project is also expected to provide training to healthcare staff to promote an equitable standard of healthcare across urban and rural areas. During its rollout over the five-year period, it will also provide targeted family health planning and training to reduce adolescent pregnancy in hinterland communities.