Public Health Ministry continues to deliver – Min. Lawrence

ATVs, motorcycles handed over to Reg. 9

− geared towards further reducing maternal deaths

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 25, 2019

Two all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and three off-road motorcycles were handed over to the Regional Health Department of Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo Region for Community Health Workers (CHWs) to be used in the provision of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services.

More specifically, these will go towards efforts in reducing instances of maternal deaths in the region.

The bikes and ATVs handed over, total $5.2M and form part of an Inter-American Development Bank loan valued $1.6B (US$8M), which was made available to the government in 2017. A key focus of the loan project is to ensure pregnant women have access to public health services for safer deliveries. The project will see transportation being provided to aid in the efforts to reduce and even eliminate maternal and neonatal deaths in Regions 3, 4 and 9.

Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence, who formally handed over the bikes, noted that though a small acquisition, it will benefit in the long-term in creating adequate access to health services especially for pregnant women and it demonstrates that the ministry will continue to deliver.

“Many of you, on the coastland, will say it is just a few motorbikes and two ATVs, but I can assure you that to the people in the Savannahs and the people in the North Rupununi, and even Central Rupununi, this is like good gold to them because accessibility is not as easy to them as it is on the coast,” the minister explained.

Ninety per cent of the region’s Community Health Workers (CHWs) who have been trained through IDB funding and primary healthcare staff are women, who will utilise these modes of transportation to effectively carry out their duties in saving the lives of neonates and their mothers.

The bikes are equipped with helmets and ATVs have provision for the transport of equipment that will be used on patients. According to the Regional Health Officer, Dr. Naail Uthman, the equipment will go to service Shulinab, Nappi, Moco Moco, Kaicumbay and Yupukari.

“We anticipate that these will add to the service the ambulance already provides there in the Rupununi.” He added that home visits to provide pre and postnatal care will be boosted with the availability of the ATVs and motorcycles which will be used to go to patients living far from the health facility.

“Health centres, for example, might be central but these health workers will have to travel miles before they reach individual home. So, this they will use these vehicles to conduct home visits even during the pregnancy period and after delivery as well… It allows not only interpersonal visits but to take resources, do vaccinations in the community.”

The presentation took place at the ministry’s Brickdam office. The bikes were supplied by General Marine Company Incorporated and will be transported to Region 9.

In March, an ambulance was given to service the Annai and surrounding villages, while in August, two ambulances were given to the Regional Democratic Councils (RDC) three and four. Shortly there will be the acquisition of a boat for Region 3 to cater to cases in the Essequibo River.