LCDS 2030 will enhance Guyana’s healthcare system to adapt to climate change

For some countries, climate change is a threat. But in Guyana’s case, it is an unfortunate reality. In fact, dating back to the 1960s, Guyana has been facing the adverse effects of climate change by way of increased temperatures, drier weather, longer drought seasons and heavier rainfall.

In seeking to adapt to climate change, the Government of Guyana, through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, will fortify and transform the country’s healthcare system. 

LCDS 2030 will fortify and transform the country’s healthcare system.

How does the LCDS 2030 plan to achieve this? This strategy will support improving Guyana’s public health adaptation infrastructure; planning and response capability of the health sector to climate-related impacts; and developing and implementing programmes to tackle climate-related illnesses.

By achieving these objectives, Guyana’s LCDS 2030 will boost and promote disaster risk preparedness and management capacity of the health sector; quicker recovery from extreme weather-related events like floods; better access to clean water and sanitation facilities; the public’s sensitisation of the risks of climate-related health impacts – particularly at the community level. 

Under this national advancement plan, significant efforts will also be invested in improving access to, and the quality of healthcare services in the country. This will include training healthcare personnel to render service in a low-carbon economy; upgrading medical facilities and equipment to facilitate accurate diagnosis, treatment and care; improving management systems, data information storage and retrieval; as well securing effective quality medication. 

LCDS 2030 is yet to be implemented and the government is looking to do so before the end of this year. Notwithstanding that, the Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali-led administration has already taken steps to transform Guyana’s health sector. For context, Budget 2022 of $552.9 billion-Guyana’s largest budget ever-dedicated some $73.2 billion to the health sector. 

A breakdown of this mammoth sum would show that the government budgeted:

  • Over $6.8 billion for the national COVID-19 response, which includes, among other initiatives, the provision for an additional 260,000 doses of vaccines to be utilised for booster shots;
  • $16.1 billion to launch a major expansion in public healthcare facilities. This includes $12.4 billion for the design and construction of a state-of-the-art paediatric and maternal hospital; upgrading the West Demerara and Bartica Regional Hospitals, and construction of six modern regional hospitals at Anna Regina, Tushen, Diamond, Enmore, Bath and No. 75 Village in the Corentyne;
  • $200 million to retrofit and equip the Festival City Polyclinic to provide x-ray, dental, laboratory and rehab services;
  • $1 billion to update health centres across all regions and address critical interventions needed to provide the patient experience;
  • $39 million for the extension of the mental health ward at the National Referral Hospital
  • $17.9 billion to procure supplies to eliminate incidences of drug shortages by 2023, among other key investments