Health Vision 2020 Strategy launched-President Ramotar underscores need for a better managed sector
Georgetown, GINA, December 30, 2013
President Donald Ramotar today said that notwithstanding billions of dollars of investment in the health sector, there still remains significant room for improvement.
The President spoke of the need for the strengthening of management and the inculcation of a different type of attitude within the public health system which would entail selecting suitable persons for positions.
“The medical profession is a special one; it is a profession that is strongly rooted in humanitarian convictions,” he said during the official launch of the Health Vision 2020 Strategy at the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal.
Proper resource management
The Head of State explained that everything is interconnected and as such, if there are problems in one sector, then other sectors are affected. He reminded too, that resources are not unlimited since the country has other needs that should be focused on, especially in the hinterland.
President Donald Ramotar delivering the feature address at the launch of the Health Vision 2020 National Strategy
“I can’t imagine that we spend billions of dollars to buy drugs to ensure that our people have access to resources, yet many times, when I go around the country, I am confronted with people complaining about shortages,” he lamented.
When the resources are not properly managed, then the Government is forced to procure emergency supplies, while at other times, millions have to be written off as a result of drugs being expired.
He pointed out that the health ministry has been in existence for decades and those in charge, should know by now what are needed and how they should be purchased and used. These issues, the President said, are unacceptable and must be addressed.
“These are things that we have to correct, we are a poor country, and although it is true that we have made tremendous strides in achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals in cutting poverty… a lot more needs to be done, and could be done if we do not have this kind of wastage,” President Ramotar stated.
The Government has been partnering with other international bodies to provide specialised training for public health personnel at great cost to the taxpayers of the country, and for this reason the President said that the sector needs to work harder to ensure that citizens access the level of service they deserve.
Turning his attention to occurrences of maternal deaths, the President said that when young women, in particular, die the country suffers a major loss in terms of development. He recognised that while every medical case is unique, much more attention should be paid to this issue with a view to minimising such incidents.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the largest killers in Guyana, and the President said that most of the hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from them. He called on the Ministry to adopt a more aggressive stance in advocating prevention.
“Now that you have a plan, you must ensure that theory and practice go together…you now have a vision, and I hope that the implementation of this vision can constantly keep focus on the direction and we can provide for our people, a service that is second to none in the region and hopefully can reach world standards in the not so distant future,” President Ramotar posited.
President Donald Ramotar receiving a copy of the Health Vision 2020 National Strategy
from Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal
He also spoke of the contributions that a healthy workforce can make in terms of increasing production and productivity.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran in his remarks said that nothing in the strategy is written in stone, but rather it is just a guide that would require tweaking as its implementation progresses.
The Minister assured the President that the strategy is worth any funding that will be requested. He challenged the young management team of doctors that will be tasked with the strategy’s implementation to ensure that spending is done in a very cost-effective way.
Health Vision 2020 targets the vision that the people of Guyana are among the healthiest in the Caribbean and the Americas. It is underpinned by the values of human rights, equity and solidarity in health, as well as principles and approaches that emphasise individual empowerment, social participation, evidence-based planning, primary health care, and sustainable development.
The strategy embraces the World Health Organisation’s definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.