More than 500 Orealla, Siparuta residents benefit from two-day medical outreach

Hundreds of residents of the indigenous communities of Orealla and Siparuta, Region Six on Thursday and Friday, benefitted from a medical Outreach led by Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo and a team of 13 medical personnel.

The team included Dental Surgeons, Optometrist, Dermatologist, General Practitioner and an ultrasound Technician, who is a member of the Cuban Medical Brigade and a nurse specialising in Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) screening.

Persons benefitting from the medical outreach at Orealla

“It is the mandate of His Excellency, President Irfaan Ali that we take health care to the people. He spoke about equal and equitable access to health care and we know that FOR persons in these areas it’s more difficult. The highest level of care in this area is a health centre. Of course, we have a doctor who is based here,” Dr. Mahadeo told DPI.

The dental team conducted more than 250 dental procedures on more than 150 persons.

Residents of Siparuta benefitting from the medical Outreach on Thursday

Dr. Mahadeo noted that these procedures include things that were never done before in the communities, “things like the root canal and doing other interventions that were never done before here. The head of the Cheddi Jagan Dental Centre, himself, is here, Dr. Sullivan, and he has been leading this team, so we had literally three chairs working at the same time and this is why we would have achieved this much in the two days.”

Almost 50 ultrasounds were done on persons including the elderly and pregnant, while 55 persons saw the dermatologist, 31 persons did VIA Screening, with others accessing general services.

Residents of Siparuta benefitting from the medical Outreach on Thursday

“In all the cases like in the case of Optometry, we are making a list of those cases that would need intervention so we are talking about the pterygiums, talking about the cataracts, we are talking about the glaucoma that might need surgical intervention or other interventions and this list we will be working on so we are hopefully going to be able to take these persons out to get it done if it cannot be done here,” Dr Mahadeo said.

Dr. Latoya Dyal, the Dermatologist, noted that most of the skin conditions, were in children. “The ‘hand, foot and mouth’ disease is an infectious disease, so I was advising the nurses and so on to speak to the community leaders to encourage hand washing among the smaller children to prevent this type of disease. As for the fungal infections, those are due to sweating and, in this community, persons do a lot of farming which causes them to sweat a lot so even though I give the advice would have been better to avoid getting too sweaty and avoid keeping the skin too damp,” Dr. Dyal said.

Persons benefitting from the medical outreach at Orealla

Patients who accessed the medical services are grateful for the opportunity.

Glennis Valenzuela who benefitted from VIA screening said, “I’m really glad that the doctor came till in Siparuta to do this VIA, I’m so glad because it’s so much money fuh go out fuh do it,” she said.

Jasodra Yhapp-Wong also benefitted from VIA services. “I really feel happy about this because in our community, there are lots of women, the first thing that we notice they are having the sickness right, them deh so bad and some of them are dying with it, so I’m so happy today and I am proud that this doctor come and them could do this test for us, and I also do it because I am happy to make sure that our body is safe and perfect health.”

“I’m very thankful for our present president, what he has promised us that he is doing here today, I am very thankful for the team, Dr. Mahadeo and team because they always promise to do their best for the people everywhere in this country, so I’m very thankful for this team,” said Maurice Henry, a resident of Siparuta. 

“For a very long time we didn’t get outreach like this and it is very important for our people in our village because many times we have to travel out to go to new Amsterdam for treatment for all kinds of things like eyes and so and sometimes we don’t even have money, and emergency cases it’s really difficult but we thank god so much that the team is here,” said Gwendolyn Baptiste.

Persons benefitting from the medical outreach at Orealla

Nadira Christmas, was one of 43 persons who accessed the ultrasound service. “We don’t really often get the boat to go out or if we travel with the boat we have to take a day or a night to reach out, and then we going to the Skeldon hospital, then we get transfer to the new Amsterdam hospital and it’s very difficult for us and then we have to come back and go back, and I want to say thank you so much.”

Debra Alpin was referred for further medical treatment out of the village.

She told DPI, “There are a lot of us that are sick and it is difficult at times for us to go out there like New Amsterdam and it’s all because of the transportation also, because right now we don’t have like transportation to take us out when we are sick, unless it’s an emergency then we go out with the ambulance, so I’m very happy for this outreach here.”

David Henry said, “This was one of his promises, outreaches like these, and I’m happy that this is happening now in Orealla and he has stand to his word and I’m asking that this must not be the only outreach it must be something routine.”

Another resident, Gail Henry related that, “The outreach comes at a critical time that we need this health service the most because due to the Covid situation most of the residents here don’t have the opportunity to go out that often especially to deal with only one issue, only if they have other business to take care of, they will make one trip out on the coast to do everything altogether. So, it’s really nice that the ministry of health can have a medical team to come up here in Orealla to provide all these services.”

Head of the Cuban Medical Brigade, Dr. Ruiz Arcia Ineldo was also part of the visiting team and expressed his gratitude for being afforded the opportunity to provide specialised care to the Guyanese population.

Dr. Mahadeo also visited bedridden and elderly people in the communities to ensure that they too benefitted from the medical outreach.