Masakenari residents to benefit from telemedicine programme

Residents of Masakenari also known as Gunns Village in Deep South Rupununi Region Nine, will benefit from access to quality health care with the introduction of the TeleMedicine Clinic.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony along with Regional Health Officer of Region Nine, Cerdel Mc Watt, Coordinator of Health in the Hinterland, Michael Gouveia and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 19Labs, Ram Fish travelled to this far-flung community to officially launch the programme on Wednesday.

Staff of the Lethem Regional Hospital pose for a photo

With this programme coming on stream, community health workers (CHW) will have access to expertise from doctors and specialists in Georgetown via tablets and other electronic devices, to deliver health care to residents.

Minister Anthony said this is in keeping with President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali’s vision of creating a ‘world class’ health care system for Guyanese.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony along with officials at the launching that was held virtually

The minister explained, “When you add the things that we are doing in other parts of the system, like upgrading our hospitals and so forth, this really would improve primary healthcare and this would help us to connect with those hospitals.”

The clinic has been equipped with a digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometer, blood pressure monitor, mobile ultrasound, exam cameras among other technological devices that will be used in the delivery of this service.

The telemedicine project at the Lethem Regional Hospital

“We’re also able to take the electronic medical record of the patient….and I think that’s extremely important because in many instances, we don’t have accurate data on the patients we have in remote communities. This is now going to help us to build an electronic health record system across the regions” Dr Anthony noted.

The health minister said while this is a pilot programme, from all that has been seen so far, it is working.

Electronic devices for the telemedicine project in Masakenari, Deep South Rupununi

“The way that has worked so far, it’s promising and the team at the GPHC is going to be available to support the community health workers. So, by doing that, we’re twinning some of the best in medicine with those persons who are in the remote communities, Minister Anthony added.

He said there will be an evaluation of the programme.

Minister Anthony distributing gifts to children of Gunns Village

The ministry will be looking to implement such programmes in other remote communities. Funding for the expansion of the programme has already been secured.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Information (DPI), interviewed Toshao Paul Chekema on what this development means for his community.

Chekema said, “Telecommunication is the best thing for us because we are a remote area. I would say thank you for our President [Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali], right now, my people happy to see this kind of project.”

He added, “I will say thank you for the minister also, who come and see our place. Another minister never came here before, now PPP win so maybe that’s why they have to come and check us, this will be good for my people.”

Some of the children who received gifts from the health minister

Gunns Village is one of four communities in Region Nine benefitting from the telemedicine initiative. Minister Anthony also visited the Lethem Regional Hospital to inspect the telemedicine project there.

Children of Gunns Village also received Christmas gifts from the health minister.