$474.6M GPHC pathology lab promises faster diagnosis, greater accuracy

Faster turnaround time for diagnoses and greater accuracy are just two of the monumental benefits that will be enjoyed from the new state-of-the-art pathology lab at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

The $474.6 million lab, which was commissioned on Sunday by President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, features cutting-edge equipment, such as pathology scanners and tissue processors.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

It aims to significantly reduce waiting time for diagnoses, and improve patient care through telepathology.

Telepathology is the digital transfer of high-resolution images between distant locations for diagnosis, education, and research.

There have already been marked improvements in turnaround time from biopsy to diagnosis. Previously the results of a biopsy took approximately three months. This time has been reduced to less than seven days at the GPHC.

With this pathology lab, the waiting time is expected to be further slashed to 48 hours.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health and Mount Sinai Health Systems.

Delivering the feature address at the commissioning ceremony, President Ali stated that the laboratory is one element of a myriad of improvements slated for the GPHC.

The government aims to further dignify the country’s premier health facility as a regional healthcare hub with first-class services.

“In building ahead of time, we have to build a healthcare system that is capable of servicing a population of at least 2.5 million people in the medium term. And it may not be 2.5 million people living in Guyana, but 2.5 million people that will need to pass through the economy of our country, that would rely on our different services, including healthcare,” the president underscored.

A key facet of this vision is the introduction of modern and efficient tools to revolutionise healthcare delivery. To achieve this, a suite of other improvements will be introduced this year.

A modern pathology lab was commissioned at the Georgetown Public Hospital on Sunday

“Because of the load at the Georgetown hospital, in relation to the CT scans, we have a minimum of 35 scans per day. There is an urgent need for us to invest in a new CT scan here, and we will make that adjustment this year to ensure that we have a second CT scan available to serve the people,” President Ali assured.

Regional and sub-regional health facilities are also being equipped so that people no longer have to travel to the city for medical services, thereby reducing the patient load at the hospital.

Approximately 15 digital X-rays have already been distributed in the various regions, with seven more set to be handed over.

“We are targeting 25 additional digital x-rays this year. In the regional and sub-regional facilities, definitely all the new facilities that are coming on stream including Lethem, Linden, and Bartica, we will have CT scans installed,” the president said.

In addition to this, the government will work to bring in a mobile MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) facility for the GPHC, which will cut travel costs and boost patient accessibility.

A vaccine-manufacturing facility is also in the works and will see the input of several regional and international partners, such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Cuba.  

The proposed facility is expected to service the entirety of Latin America and the Caribbean.

“These additional investments will no doubt help us tremendously in advancing care and moving many steps closer to the development of a world-class healthcare system and facilities here in Guyana,” the head of state pledged.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, added that the operation of the facility will assist in updating the country’s cancer registry with more accurate data.

“With this pathology lab, we realise that these tests that we need to do if we are going to advance how we treat cancer in Guyana are not just about doing the imaging, but we need to make sure that we can do the various types of testing to differentiate the types of cancers. We can look at which type would be more responsive to which type of treatment, and once we are able to do that, then we would have better outcomes. This laboratory will assist us to do that,” he explained.

Chief Executive Officer of the GPHC, Robbie Rambarran, Resident Representative of the World Bank Group for Guyana and Suriname, Diletta Doretti, and Chief Transformation Officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, Arthur Gianelli, also delivered remarks at the ceremony.