Bartica’s health service delivery greatly improved – no neonatal deaths in three years

GINA, GUYANA, Monday, September 26, 2016

The services offered at the Bartica Hospital, Region Seven have seen significant improvements through a number of interventions by the government.

The other health facilities in the region have also benefitted from mass upgrades within the past year, thereby decreasing the number of referrals to the Guyana Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Dr. Edward Segala, Regional Health Officer, Region Seven

Dr. Edward Segala, Regional Health Officer, Region Seven

Regional Health Officer, Region Seven, Dr. Edward Sagala told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the region has not recorded any maternal or neonatal deaths for the past three years.

“We haven’t had maternal deaths, thank God, for the last three years. We haven’t had neonatal deaths, newly born babies, no still birth. We only had one infant death for this year sometime in July which unfortunately the child arrived four years of age and died… was dead on arrival and Post Mortem revealed that the child had congenital malformation of the heart,” Dr. Sagala explained.

In May 2016, President David Granger commissioned a new neonatal unit at the Bartica Regional Hospital, which the RHO said has really been able to address all the specialised needs in the neonatal department.

“This is a unit that is very critical, highly specialised to take care of newly born babies who have developed problems, acute respiratory problems, prematurity, etcetera so we are no longer sending these newly born babies with conditions that need specialised care to any other institution.”

Dr. Sagala credits the maintenance of zero maternity and neonatal deaths to the continued health sector reform that the region is currently undergoing. For the year 2016, Region Seven has seen the addition of 18 doctors, seven of whom specialise in the areas of Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) procedures, dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, anesthesiologist and general surgery.

The others are general medical practitioners, five of whom are working in the remote areas of Kamarang, Waramadong, and Imbaimadai. With the complement of specialist doctors and surgeons, more specialised surgeries have been completed for 2016. To date 93 surgeries have been completed at the Bartica Regional Hospital as compared to 18 in the corresponding period for 2015.

Dr. Sagala pointed out that plans for 2017 include requests for more specialists in support professions. “We would like to see the manpower issue being expanded; being a regional hospital, it will call for additional areas of specialties for example support services like nutrition, social workers, emergency medical technicians, and bio-medical technicians. We want to have other support services up and running like laboratory services, and medical imaging.”

Additionally, the RHO noted that the Accident and Emergency (A&E) unit of the Bartica Regional Hospital currently serves the public from 3 pm – 11pm daily, but plans are underway to have the facility functioning 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

These support services will now be added to the level of care that is already being provided to further ensure that quality health care will be made available to all persons. “The ultra sound machine which was not working is now operational so our community is receiving free ultra sound tests ordered by the medical specialist. The dental services have improved since a new dental chair has been bought.”

The Region has also acquired a new river ambulance which will be put into use by year-end. The boat will have all the amenities of an actual ambulance ensuring the lives of person transported to hospitals are met to the required medical standard.

Dr. Sagala noted that more than 7000 people in and around the region have been able to efficiently and effectively be treated and diagnosed by the specialists.

“This is another living example that if you inject in resources to the periphery, to the hinterland communities which I think is the vision of this new government, you will get what you call an improvement especially in cutting down the referrals, therefore Georgetown will not be inundated and overwhelmed with these cases,” the RHO explained.

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