MOH, GTT collaborate to bring cancer awareness during Pinktober

The Ministry of Health has once again partnered with GTT and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to foster cancer awareness and education nationwide, with the launch of ‘Pinktober 2023,’ at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown, on Friday.

During the ceremony, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said he is pleased to collaborate with the telecommunication company and other stakeholders in the battle against breast cancer.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

He acknowledged that the movement has done wonders in bringing much awareness about the leading cancer among women.

“I want to commend everyone who has been working on this consistently over the years and GTT for supporting this endeavor…to make sure that the awareness is within our population,” he added.

The ministry, Dr Anthony revealed, is working in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency to procure three mammograms that will be strategically placed at the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital in Region Six, West Demerara, Region Three, and Linden Regional Hospitals, Region 10.

This will ensure women are checked for breast cancer free of cost at these institutions.

“Last year we did about 13,000 mammograms and that’s not enough and we recognise that’s not enough because we need to have these machines strategically placed so that people can have access,” Minister Anthony highlighted.

Newer screening guidelines for breast cancer are also being finalised through an expert committee that has been working over the last three months.

“There are many developments happening and I think it is very important that we get the general public to understand the development,” said Dr Anthony.

While focus is placed on breast cancer during Pinktober, emphasis must also be placed on ensuring persons are screened early for the various cancers for prevention.

The government, he said, is also working to improve the management of cancer in Guyana and will work towards collecting accurate statistics.

Further, the health minister noted that data collection from the private sector is untimely manner and the government is also working to address this. 

“We have a registry but we have been updating the statistics that we collect at the registry. So, in time we’re going to get more accurate in terms of the information that we have,” the minister disclosed.

Additionally, the return time for biopsy has improved at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) from around three months to twelve days, and according to Dr Anthony, the ministry is working to lessen the days.

By the end of the year, a telepathology system will be implemented at the GPHC in collaboration with world-renowned healthcare provider – The Mount Sinai Health System.  “When we do a biopsy, we’ll prepare it, then we take a high-resolution image of the biopsy and then we can then send that to any labin the world, so basically, you’ll now have a digital image that the pathologists would interpret,” he explained.

Chief Operating Officer – Home Solutions & Fixed Networks at GTT, Eshwar Thakurdin

Meanwhile, the Chief Operating Officer of the Home Solutions & Fixed Networks at GTT, Eshwar Thakurdin expressed that the annual movement is filled with compassion, unity, and unwavering hope.

“The theme ‘Many hands, caring hearts’ represents our cause essence emphasising the power of unity…Our partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Cancer Institute of Guyana, the Giving Hope Foundation…speaks to the many hands and the caring involved in making a difference in Pinktober 2023,” he stated.