New manual offers holistic approach to family health, wellness

Wellness, family health, equity, gender, community action, and people-centred care are among the key concepts being targeted by the Ministry of Health, as they launched the revised National Family Health Manual on Tuesday morning.

At the launch, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, underlined that the manual comes at a very important time, as Guyana’s healthcare system is undergoing serious transformations.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

“Before, our programmes were a little bit here, a little bit there, and you didn’t see that continuing. So, our focus now is not just on… child health, but we must [also] have adolescent health and adult health. We must cater for people as they get older, so you’re seeing that continuum,” he explained.

He noted that the manual contains crucial interventions outlining areas of focus that Guyana needs to work on, and how the interventions are to be carried out so that the country can achieve better overall health results.

Launch of the revised National Family Health Manual

He also pointed out that in the past, there was a common occurrence whereby pilot programmes were launched by the health ministry, but never continued.

While there was no issue establishing pilot programmes, too often the project remained a pilot, failing to expand on a large scale Minister Anthony explained.

This reduced the ministry’s ability to demonstrate that the projects and initiatives were capable of making significant impacts.

The revised family health manual

Further, Dr Anthony explained that many of the concepts outlined in the manual have been tested in other countries, demonstrated proven success, and are considered best practices.

He emphasised that the manual will assist Guyana in moving from just the pilot phase of implementing new projects, to having the concepts established on a large scale.

He also charged healthcare workers and health officials present to ensure that the manual is utilised to its fullest.

“I hope that the launching of this new manual, that you do not just take it and put it on a shelf, but you actually read what is in there, because the team spent lots of hours updating the information in there and making sure that it’s relevant, making sure that it’s the updated knowledge that we have around the world. We have condensed that and put it in here,” he expressed.

An older edition of Guyana’s family health manual

The new family health manual aims to provide a guide on practices to achieve optimal family and community health and wellness.

It is designed to educate and empower persons to make informed decisions about their health and well-being, and to equip healthcare providers with the knowledge to assist in achieving these goals.