$2.6Billion to boost Health Ministry’s COVID-19 response

– $790Million to operationalize the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

– $1.8Million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In efforts to mitigate the impact of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government will be moving to improve the efficiency of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.

The estimated $1.6billion infectious disease hospital is currently housing a number of maternity COVID-19 positive cases, isolation and non-critical patients.

During his presentation of Budget 2020 today, Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Edghill, announced that an additional sum of $790Million has been provided for the full operationalisation of the infectious disease hospital to cater for 200 patients.

“Our intention is to staff and commission the facility by the end of the month,” Minister Edghill explained, adding that “the government was forced to make the allocation after they found that, much touted hospital by the previous Administration was nothing but a shell – beautifully painted but lacking in facilities that could be used as a response to COVID-19.”

“A series of problems exist at the facility, including some as basic as sewerage, water supply and electricity. We are trying to have the deficiencies corrected so that construction could be quickly concluded, to an appropriate standard, whilst equipping the facility,” the Minister explained.

 The budget also contains $1.8billion which will be allocated for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for central government employees.

Additionally, Minister Edghill conveyed that the Government plans to increase health authorities’ capacity for surveillance, including contact tracing, which is the vital foundation to control the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Strong surveillance, coupled with efficient testing and subsequent coordinated and effective response, must be the pillars upon which we will control the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be partnering with the University of Guyana to bolster surveillance staffing capacity. Until the transmission of COVID-19 is contained, Government would be hard pressed to lift all of the emergency public health measures in place, lest lives of all Guyanese are put at risk,” the Public Works Minister reiterated.

Through the current administration’s health sector, psychosocial services have been provided to COVID-19 patients, which includes therapy, coping strategies, assessing pre-existing mental health conditions and stress education all in efforts to effectively manage mental health amid the pandemic.  

Since assuming office, the PPP/C Government has changed the dynamic of the previous administration in its response to the Coronavirus in keeping the public safe and keeping the nation’s economy healthy. The new response changed focus to foundational public health, societal compliance, developing health system capacity, safeguarding industry, protection of the vulnerable and managing the economic health of the country.