Min. Lawrence visits GPHC for OWM’s follow-up exams

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, January 19, 2019

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence visited recent beneficiaries from Operation Walk Maryland (OWM) operations, on Saturday, during their scheduled follow up examinations, to view their progress at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

In October 2018, OWM originally aimed to perform 50 replacements however, a total of 53 operations were conducted. The 53 replacements done, included 35 on the knees and 18 hips. Six of the patients required knee joint replacement for both knees. Of the 47 persons benefitting from the joint replacement surgeries, 29 were females while 18 were males.

Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister Lawrence said that listening to the patients talk about their progress so far has been overwhelmingly positive, a direction that will help the ministry decide the way forward to benefit others.

This gives me now the opportunity to have further developmental talks with this group and how we can have more visits and how we can develop our own department so that we can cater to our people… Today is really a blessing to see the smiles on everyone’s face. It makes me emotional to hear people say that ‘I have my life back’,” the minister said.  

She also expressed thanks to all taxpayers since their contribution has helped to contribute to the happiness of these lucky recipients.

According to the minister, talks with the group will help determine a way forward to further develop the hospital’s Orthopaedic Department as it will also provide capacity building exercises.

“We want them to come back because not only do they come and provide a service but whenever they come there is an exchange of knowledge. Our team gets to work their team and, so we are building our capacity so that we are able to provide these services, which we do but in a limited way. We can provide on a larger scale,” Minister Lawrence said.

The team of six orthopaedic surgeons is headed by Dr. Paul Khanuja, Co-Founder of Operation Walk Maryland. He explained that the follow-up examinations with the patients has showed great improvements, one that he is grateful for.

“They are doing quite well, there were some patients who had two joints replaced, most of them had one joint replaced and they are doing quite well, it is nice to see their functional level at this point of time now that it is three months after they are walking better,” Dr. Khanuja said, noting that he hopes to do similar exercises such as these, in the future.

Neil Lewis from Sisters’ Village, East Bank Essequibo told DPI that he was involved in an accident about three decades ago and was treated for, however, five years ago, a pain on his left side made him know that all was not right.

“Last year March, at New Amsterdam I went and got an x-ray and was referred to GPHC and the doctors read the x-ray and asked if I wanted to do a surgery which I confirmed… I continue to follow up with the doctors and finally did the surgery in October…now there is no pain, all is well,” Lewis explained.

OWM is a private, not-for-profit, volunteer medical service organization that provides free surgical treatment for patients in developing countries and in the United States.

Neola Damon

Images:  Ackeem Thomas

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