27 surgeries done as outreach wraps up at Mabaruma Regional Hospital

─ Guyana-Venezuelan resident, two-year-old among those operated on

─ outreach benefits both patients and doctors in region

─ Surgical outreach efforts going towards reduced need for medevacs

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, September 8, 2019

A team of surgical specialists from the Georgetown Public Hospital, the Ministry of Public Health and other health facilities in Regions 2, 6 and 10, jointly conducted a two-day surgical outreach at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital.

Several patients and their families who benefitted from the exercise commended the efficiency of the surgical team and shared their relief of not having to travel elsewhere to have their surgeries done.  Patients living outside of Mabaruma were airlifted and transported to the regional hospital by the RDC which committed to covering all costs. Most importantly, these surgeries were of no cost to the patients or their families.

Pensioner from the Moruca Sub-Region, Raymond Romascindo, who has worked in mining sector for more than forty years, was in to do a hydrocelectomy (hydrocele removal). Romascindo said, “I never took it seriously but this year it came down [got worse] and I knew I would have to take a surgery. They [the doctor] had me on a clinic so now I am very happy to have the surgery.”

The former miner who is now into small scale farming and chicken rearing was supported by his wife, Joan Romascindo who said that this surgery would “save many people living in the interior.” She noted that often people are sick with grave illnesses and choose not to see a doctor because they worry about leaving their families behind when they have to travel for specialised treatment.

Lindy Austin, mother of two-year-old, Mitchell Domingo was busy comforting her baby boy who was already prepped to also undergo hydrocelectomy. She said that based on the doctor’s assessment her son might have been born with hydrocele. “I feel relieved; I just wanted it to be done.”

Debra James, a Guyana-Venezuela resident was already in surgery and her daughter Jocelyn Lugo said within the last two years her mother has been trying to have the surgery done. She added that they had money for her to travel but after being seen by a local doctor she was put on the list for this surgery.

Other surgical operations that were carried out by the team include Hernia repairs, Cholecystectomy (removal of gall stones), tubal ligation (tying of fallopian tubes), dilatation and curettage (dilation of cervix and removal of uterus lining), cervical biopsies and a Cesarean Section

It has been a while since a surgical outreach was held in Mabaruma and the Public Health Ministry has noted the high cost incurred to transport a patient or patients for surgery to Georgetown. In addition to that, money will have to be spent to transport the patient to back their home after they are cleared for travel by their doctor. Each patient must have a guardian accompanying them who needs to be housed as they support the patient.

According to Director of Regional and Clinical Services, Dr. Kay Shako, the surgical outreach is part of an overall objective to have the main operating theatre at the Mabaruma Regional Hospital functioning regularly, where surgeries can be done as cases are diagnosed.

“We asked our doctors here to enlist patients that need surgeries because we don’t want our patients travelling to Georgetown or for us to be conducting medevacs all the time… We are going to have the theatre here [at Mabaruma Regional Hospital] operating on a regularly to ensure patients have their required surgery.”

Meanwhile, specialised doctors will continue to visit the region to conduct follow up reviews on those persons operated on during this outreach. Emergency cases, requiring immediate intervention will have to be transported to Georgetown until the hospital has the adequate support staff to effectively roll out surgeries.

Having the surgeries done in the regional hospital also provides doctors and nurses working there to be exposed to these surgeries which will aid in the decision-making process as they consider specialising.

Speaking with the Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence who checked in on patients in recovery and those preparing to undergo surgery, it was understood that another part of the overall objective is to create a partnership between General Medical Officers and senior consulting surgeons and other specialists in specific areas of interest.

“We believe that if we bring out our specialists into these far-flung areas, our doctors and nurses, the whole team here will now have the opportunity to work along with them so they can gain experience. We are also looking for partnerships or mentorships so to speak so those specialists can identify doctor here who they can continue to work with,” the Public Health Minister explained.