19 more hinterland communities to benefit from Telemedicine programme
– Health minister
The government, through the Ministry of Health, will be expanding the telemedicine initiative to 19 remote communities across Regions One, Seven and Eight, to increase access to quality healthcare.
The government has allocated a sum of $1.8 billion towards the expansion of the programme to the additional hinterland regions in Budget 2023.
Appearing on a weekly virtual programme, ‘The Guyana Dialogue,’ Thursday evening, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony disclosed that works will soon commence ensuring those hinterland regions are outfitted with the advanced medical technological system.
“We are trying to go to every remote area where care is extremely difficult to access and by putting in this system, it is making a tremendous difference,” Dr Anthony stated.
Currently, the telemedicine programme is being piloted in four Region Nine communities – Masakenari (Gunns Village), Nappi, Yupukari, and Parikawarinau.
The telemedicine centres in these villages have been equipped with the requisite technological devices, which give Community Health Workers (CHWs) 24-hour access to medical specialists from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
These include a digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometer, blood pressure monitor, mobile ultrasound, and examination cameras.
The pilot programme spans six months and an evaluation will be subsequently conducted to examine the expansion to other communities.
Already, two lives were saved in Gunns Village, after specialists identified two patients who were in need of emergency medical interventions.
“We sent in the plane; we were able to pick up the patients and they got treatment. And, because we did that, those patients are alive today,” Dr Anthony revealed.
The telemedicine programme was officially launched in December 2022. Among other things, the initiative aims to provide equitable healthcare to Guyanese in remote communities.