$2.2B for hinterland health services – major infrastructure works expected

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, December, 16, 2016

A sum total of $2.2B to hinterland regional health programmes will aid in equipping and upgrading a number of district hospitals, while establishing new health posts. This is all in an effort to narrow the gap in the provision of healthcare between the hinterland and coastland regions.

Health Services budgetary allocations for each of the hinterland regions are as follows:

  • Region One – $ 768. 638M
  • Region Seven – $ 606. 898M
  • Region Eight – $ 402. 796M and
  • Region Nine – $ 487. 035M

Minister of Public Health Dr George Norton

Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, in explaining the importance and objectives of allocation to the hinterland’s regional development, stated,

“The objective of the programme of Regional and Clinical Services is to ensure that regional and clinical services are provided consistently, and adequately, in all the regions of this country. This is especially so, in the far flung hinterland Regions of One, Two, Seven, Eight and Nine, that seems to have been forgotten by the past regime,” Dr. Norton stated.

Health facility upgrades and establishment is high on the to-do list for the hinterland health sector programme. Particular emphasis will be placed on upgrading all health facilities to accommodate, and attract the necessary medical personnel in a number of hinterland areas. These upgrades will take place in villages such as Baramita, Port Kaituma, Kamarang, Mahdia and Annai.

“Proposed in this sector’s budget is money for equipping district hospitals in these hinterland regions with specialised staff and equipment so that health services are as accessible, acceptable, affordable and appropriate as possible, given the availability of resources, and where it can be delivered with equity and quality,” Norton added.

The infrastructural works are expected to commence with the upgrade of health post and nurses’ quarters at Baramita, and construction of living quarters at Manawarin, and Kwebanna, totalling $70M.

Doctors’ and surgeons’ quarters at Bartica will be rehabilitated, as well as the Bartica Regional Hospital, while maintenance and service works will be done on the Four Miles Health Centre.  Rehabilitation will be carried out on Kangaruma, Middle Mazaruni, Itaballi, Karrau, Batavia, Agatash and Paruima health centres.

Upgrades to the Mahdia district hospital can be expected along with an extension to Kato Cottage Hospital at a cost of $64.8M.

Meanwhile, there is provision for All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), boats and outboard engines to add to improvement of health service delivery in the Region Eight health sector.

For Region Nine, there will be the construction of a health post at Fly Hill, construction of sanitary blocks at Yurong Paru, construction of

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings

living quarters at Annai, upgrading of the Annai Health Centre, and construction of kitchen and laundry facilities at Lethem Regional Hospital. The sum of $55M was budgeted for these projects to be rolled out in 2017.

Minister Norton added that keen focus will also be placed on the deployment of specialist doctors in the fields of paediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, and dental and general surgery in Regions One, Eight and Nine.

For 2016, the Ministry of Public Health managed to have a full complement of specialist doctors at the Region Seven regional hospital. This is all in an effort to reduce the number of referrals to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

The Minister said, “Bartica is central to so many hinterland and riverine communities of not only Region Seven but also is readily accessible to communities of Region Three, Eight and Ten… It can boast of having a staff of 16 doctors including 8 specialists of paediatrics, dermatology, ENT, cardiology, anaesthesia and general surgery. The hospital in Lethem, Mabaruma and Mahdia are all going in that same direction.”

The provision of the best health care services to all Guyanese remains government’s priority hence the significant investment. “As a government, we are committed to reducing the inequities and inequalities of access to health care as we strive to make universal primary health care a lasting reality in this country,” Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings noted.


By: Delicia Haynes