Investments in water positively impact health sector

The Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) on Monday celebrated its 21st anniversary of service to the nation with a health fair held at the company’s headquarters in Shelterbelt, Vlissengen Road. The event brought together key stakeholders, including Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony, board members, and senior company officials.

Reflecting on GWI’s achievements, Chief Executive Officer Shaik Baksh highlighted the significant progress made in improving access to and the quality of water despite the geographical challenges faced in Guyana.

Baksh, who signed the vesting order establishing GWI 21 years ago during his tenure as Housing and Water Minister, acknowledged that there is still much work to be done. He emphasised GWI’s commitment to aggressively enhance the level and quality of service provided to customers.

Over the next two to three years, GWI aims to ensure widely available access to treated water. The government has already invested $14.5B this year to enhance and expand water services. Guyana is actively working towards providing 90 per cent of its population with access to potable water by 2025. As part of this effort, 13 new treatment plants will be constructed across the country, and an additional 12 existing plants will be upgraded.

“We kindly request the understanding of the population as we actively strive to meet their need for clean, safe water,” Baksh stated, emphasising the focus on improving water quality and service in both coastal and hinterland regions. The hinterland regions are served through the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) project, which provides residents with access to safe water and hygiene facilities.

GWI’s commitment to enhancing access to water and delivering quality customer service has been reinforced over the years through collaboration with local and international partners.

In addition to improving water access and quality for customers, GWI is also prioritising the improvement of working conditions for its employees, recognising their vital role in the organization’s advancement. Efforts are underway to secure further funding for professional development, and recently, new buildings have been constructed for staffers in Regions Five and Nine, with offices in Regions Two, Ten, and on the East Bank of Demerara being refurbished and equipped.

As part of the 21st-anniversary celebrations, GWI will honor retired employees and recognize the achievements of 20 craftsmen who successfully completed an upskilling program.

Minister Anthony, following the CEO’s address, emphasised that government investments over the past two decades have transformed GWI and positively impacted the health sector. Notably, the prevalence of infectious water-borne diseases in Guyana has significantly decreased compared to 21 years ago. Health officials have also reported extremely favorable results from quality tests conducted on water provided by GWI.

Minister Anthony seized the opportunity to discuss common health issues and underscored the importance of healthy eating, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Dharamkumar Seeraj, GWI Board Vice-Chair, highlighted that water is the most important medicine for a healthy lifestyle and that the government is actively working to make it readily available to every Guyanese at the lowest possible cost.

In addition to the health fair held at Shelterbelt, GWI offices in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Ten also hosted similar events on Monday, offering a range of services including dental checks, HIV/AIDS counselling and testing, vaginal swabs, glucose and blood pressure testing.