Govt actively exploring telemedicine techniques – Min. Anthony
The PPP/C Administration is actively exploring the implementation of remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology.
Termed telemedicine, the new undertaking enables video or phone appointments between a patient and their health care practitioner, providing a convenient procedure.
With telemedicine, a patient will be able to access help from a medical practitioner or even a nurse without having to travel to the hospital or clinic in their sick state.
The administration’s move to venture into the new medical path is part of its overarching masterplan to significantly transform Guyana’s medical features.
Government intends to push the nation’s health sector to mirror international standards, and put Guyana on the world map as a first-choice healthcare destination.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony said his ministry will commence the trial phase of the new mechanism in the next two months, beginning with four remote communities in in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo).
“We will train the community health workers that are there so that they can deliver the first line of care, and if they need assistance, they can dial up to be in contact with a doctor in Georgetown, so that that doctor could help them to go through the paces of making adequate diagnosis,” Minister Anthony noted.
Dr. Anthony was at the time delivering keynote address during the 42nd Annual Caribbean Association of Pharmacists (CAP) Conference, which opened at the Guyana Marriott, Wednesday evening.
The session which is scheduled to conclude on August 14, is being hosted in collaboration with the Guyana Pharmacists’ Association (GPA).
Minister Anthony stressed the importance of advancing Guyana’s healthcare technology.
He said as the nation rapidly expands in other industry; the health sector must also improve to effectively serve the growing economy.
The Minister added, that in areas where there might be little to no internet connection to facilitate the telemedicine process, the project will be run on satellite connection.
Accordingly, the device or computer which is assigned to the medical outposts in those communities will also have the appropriate built-in software that will allow for good connectivity.
“So, the doctor in Georgetown could here breathe sounds or heart sounds. We will be able to use the probes to do ultrasounds and so forth,” Minister Anthony underscored.
It was noted by Minister Anthony that Guyana is transforming the health, and skills of healthcare professionals.
“We are transforming how we do health in Guyana, and with that transformation we need every health care professional to up their skills, up their game in this particular direction, because some of the things that we are accustomed to do in the traditional way, with the use of technology, we will have to change how we do some of these things,” the minister added.
Turning of the sod
Meanwhile, a series of turning the sod for the construction of at least six new regional hospitals will begin soon.
The health facilities will have a minimum of about 75 inpatient beds, two operating theatres, a modern accident, and emergency unit and a new outpatient facility, among other features.
A sod-turning ceremony was recently held for the construction of a €149 million specialised Pediatric and Maternal Hospital, along the East Coast Demerara (ECD) corridor.
Additionally, last month government signed an agreement with the Mount Sinai Health System and Hess Corporation to improve health services here.
HESS Corporation is investing some US $32 million into the long-term medical master plan which will ensure all Guyanese receive the best possible health care.
Meanwhile, President of GPA/CAP, Kalwattie Datt-Singh said one of the reasons Guyanese pharmacists rarely attend the conference is due to the high cost to travel.
The session is an opportunity for the local pharmacists, pharmacist students, interns and assistants to an international dialogue, which brings about the new trends of the developing profession.
“This conference is a perfect blend of both education, networking and also building bridges, which is in a highbred format and assembles 200 delegates from across 20 different countries,” Datt-Singh noted.
The five-day conference is themed, “Pharmacists moving apace with new trends in pharmacy practice to meet patients’ needs.”