Maternal, child health, mental health main focus for MOPH in 2017

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Guyanese can expect better access to mental  health and maternal and child health care as of 2017 as the Public Health Ministry plans to place emphasis on improving services in these areas. Senior Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton told Government Information Agency (GINA) that these are just some of the plans factored into the ministry’s 2017 budget.

Minister Norton explained that the focus on mental health had been a priority of the ministry since he assumed office in 2015. Based on statistic provided, Guyana has the highest rate of suicide in the World. This has alerted the minister and his ministry to develop a ‘hands on’ approach in dealing with this issue.

Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Health

Dr. George Norton, Minister of Public Health

Focusing  on mental health and establishing psycho-social rehabilitation facilities which will assist in discouraging the stigma of a persons who  have to seek mental health care at a psychiatric institution the Public Health Minister explained , “In our infrastructure, mental health has been neglected and the stigma that is attached remained the same way for some time now. Our approach is, eventually after a gradual period, to get rid of the use of a mental health hospital or a psychiatric hospital. We will be concentrating much more on what is referred to as a psycho-social rehabilitation centre where persons will be managed much more on an ambulatory basis”.

This, Minister Norton said , will allow persons to effectively receive treatment for their diagnosed mental illness while obtaining support from relatives and other health care providers which will contribute to the wellness process.

With regards to emphasis being placed on Maternal and Child Health, the minister pointed out that a lot more would be done to improve the vaccination programme and to incorporate new vaccines.

“We would want to get to continue with the work we have been doing in the vaccination programme. It’s a programme we haven’t been doing too bad, but we want to improve and to incorporate new vaccines particularly the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.” The minister said.

The focus of the ministry will turn towards educating and re-educating individuals on the importance of administering the HPV vaccine. Minister Norton explained that in times past the campaign to raise effective awareness of the importance of the vaccine were unsuccessful.

Dr. Norton said, “We are learning from our mistakes and we are involving the Ministry of Education along with us to educate and to inform, not only the persons who will receive the vaccines, but the society in general particularly the mothers, the guardians, the parents of those who will receive the vaccine which happen to be children, girls in a first instance around 10 or 11.”

It had been noted that HPV usually leads to cervical cancer which claim the lives of women. It is one of the leading causes of death by cancer.

Additionally, under the Maternal and Child health programme the ministry intends to ensure that all mothers are registered with a clinic and are examined during the course of their pregnancy,  this will greatly reduce the chances of maternal deaths as well as creating environments for pregnant mothers to wards having  a healthy pregnancy. .



By: Delicia Haynes


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