Guyana’s health sector meeting govt’s development agenda

Health care in Guyana has improved exponentially over the two years of the PPP/C government in implementing a number of strategic programmes.

The 2022 mid-year report shows that government has been delivering on its 2020-2025 manifesto commitments, far exceeding the expectations of citizens, since taking office in August 2020.

This can be appreciated by the calculated allocations of resources which saw some $51.7 billion amounting to 15 per cent of the 2020 emergency budget apportioned to the health sector.

Much of the monies were utilised to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 which was surging globally.

In 2021, government allocated $53.5 billion toward the expansion of preventative care by ensuring the adequate supply of pharmaceutical and medical supplies. The upgrading of health care facilities, and the implementation of specialised care and training across the country especially in the hinterland communities.

Additionally, in 2022, the health sector received an increase of 42 per cent amounting to some $73.2 billion compared to the 2020 emergency budget allocation.

Expanding preventative care – COVID-19

In the mid-year report, the money allocated to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic saw an 89 per cent decrease in hospitalisation with an acquisition of 132,000 COVID vaccines.

To this end, some 87 per cent of the adult population is immunised with the first dose of a COVID vaccine and some 67 per cent received the second dose. Another 40,000 booster shots have been administered to adults to date.

The government has also made significant strides in inoculating children and the adolescent population with the acquisition of some 52,000 vaccines to date.

Vaccination efforts are continuing with an estimated 25,000 doses being administered to adolescents and 50,000 doses for children between the ages of 5 to 11 years.

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony continues to reiterate the importance of being inoculated against the COVID-19 disease, as he encourages citizens to get their relevant shots. 

Persons interested in getting vaccinated could visit their nearest health centres or vaccination hubs.

Expanding training and upgrading health facilities

While keeping the nation safe throughout the pandemic, government has increased its efforts to obtain much needed equipment, drugs, and medical supplies.

The government also invested in offering specialised training to integrate skilled health professionals in health care facilities countrywide. This is to ensure citizens benefit from quality and efficient health care services.

Under the ‘One Guyana’ initiative, hinterland and riverine communities were not left behind as government extended similar skills training to bridge the existing gap between the coastland. This is to ensure that hinterland residents also benefit from improved health care.

To this end, a cadre of hinterland community health workers have completed training, and health workers stationed at health care outposts across the rural areas.

Additionally, some 25 medical specialists including obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatricians, anaesthesiologists, neonatologists, and surgeons were deployed across eight of the ten regions to support effective treatment and improved services.

Some of these specialists are now serving at the Diamond and Leonora smart hospitals. Due to this, these hospitals are now offering more specialised care and 24- hour ‘Accident and Emergency’ services.

In addition, some 41 biomedical technicians will manage all medical equipment’s across the country. This will see the extended longevity and the reduction of downtime of equipment.

Training for a new cohort of Medex and Dentex students and increased post graduate specialised training for doctors in Cuba, the University of the West Indies, Canada, and the USA continues to expand.

In this regard, the PPP/C Government has assured that the country’s aspiration towards a world class health care system is being continued and that citizens health care needs are being met in every region of Guyana.

Increased pharmaceuticals and medical supplies

Shortage of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals has become a thing of the past as the PPP/C Administration continues to make significant strides to supply hospitals countrywide with medication.

In the 2022 budget, over $3.5 billion has been expended for the supply of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. This is to ensure timely procurement, proper storage and reliable delivery to hospitals and health centres across the country.

This provision is a demonstration of the PPP/C Administration’s continued commitment of delivering free access to medication to citizens especially the elderly and vulnerable countrywide.

The government has renewed its commitment to Guyanese, as they continue to double down on the commitments made in healthcare before the end of their term.