Far-flung communities welcome increased health outreaches

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, August 31, 2019

Just recently, several communities in Region 1, Barima-Waini have benefitted from several health outreaches. Among these are Kwebanna, Kumaka, White Water, Sebai and Four Miles. Other villages in the Matarkai sub-region have been earmarked to benefit from similar exercises.

HIV testing was taken to the Waramuri village while Vector Control Services were extended to Manawarin, both villages are located in the Moruca sub-region.

The Kwebanna Health centre is located along the regional border of the Waini River. In this area, residents welcomed the outreach and turned out in their numbers to access the services provided.

One resident, Nesha Abrams said outreaches such as these should continue in the interim until a doctor is placed at her village’s health centre. “It is very difficult for people in the village to go out to Moruca and even to Suddie because of the financial cost. I think an outreach like this is simply essential.”

Assistant Regional Executive Officer of the Moruca sub-region, Renita Williams explained that while there is a need for a doctor at the health centre, these scheduled outreaches capture those persons who are in poor health because they have not been practising healthy habits.

Community Health Worker at the centre, Hilton Sampson reiterated this point and added that the centre “usually gets a lot of emergency cases and we can’t look at them so they are referred to Kumaka District Hospital.”

These services taken to these villages were determined to be necessary and range from dentistry to general medical check-ups. HIV and Hepatitis B testing services were also available for residents to access free of cost.

Children who may not have had vaccines also received updates on their clinic cards and were provided with the necessary vaccines, safeguarding the health of the nation.

Most villages visited have a health post where only one Community Health Worker (CHW) manages the facility. Often residents would need to benefit from the services of a doctor for varying illnesses which the CHW cannot treat. It is in cases such as these they would then have to incur costly transportation fees to reach the nearest hospital.

This has been recognised by the central ministry and is proactively narrowing the gap in healthcare delivery; as it carries out its mandate of creating access to quality healthcare. The ministry also collaborates with regional health departments occasionally to execute outreaches in these areas

While some far-flung communities do not have a large enough population that requires the placement of a doctor; those available in the region would conduct scheduled visits to the villages.

For the past four years, the Ministry of Public Health with stewardship from the Coalition Government has been committed to ensuring that persons in the hinterland and far-flung communities benefit from services as those on the coast. In most cases, specialists were deployed to conduct two-day outreaches to address health-related needs.