Public health system failed under previous government – Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo

−millions wasted on rental fees

-system plagued by shortages of drugs, medical supplies

−non-functioning equipment

Member of Parliament, Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo, has strongly criticised the former APNU+AFC Government for mismanaging the public health system, which he said was plagued by a shortage of drugs, medical supplies and non-functioning equipment.

In his address during Tuesday’s Budget debate, Dr. Mahadeo said the Coalition’s failure to properly manage the public health system stemmed from them installing “square pegs in round holes”.  He said the former Government appointed a Minister of Public Health who “had no clue of health care delivery” and further, they installed a “former bank clerk” to manage health services in the East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six). This resulted, he said, in the wastage of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

“I asked doctors across all the regions of Guyana what are their concerns? Shortages of drugs and medical supplies, equipment not working, REOs (Regional Executive Officers) not co-operating, not releasing fuel for health and staff to make their visits,” he stated.  

Dr. Mahadeo noted that when the new Government came into office in August it found that four of five anaesthetic machines at the New Amsterdam Hospital were not working. The Government soon tasked a biomedical engineer with fixing one of the machines since all could not be repaired.

“Mr. Speaker, here is a shocker, an example of how APNU+AFC functions: there is a new anaesthetic machine that was bought for millions of dollars. This new anaesthetic machine has never been used and cannot be used in the New Amsterdam Public Hospital, so it is parked there. But do you know Mr. Speaker, why it cannot be used? It cannot be used because it is an anaesthetic machine that is to be used for veterinary services, to put animals to sleep for surgical intervention,” Dr. Mahadeo said.

The M.P. said the Government is also taking steps to fix the non-functioning computerised tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) machine.  

“It is my Government that is putting systems in place to ensure this machine is up and running by the end of the week. Mr. Speaker, I have to mention that for five years when that machine was lying idle, it could have saved the ordinary man millions of dollars but was stored in a room. Mr. Speaker storage was not free; it was at a cost of $14.5 million per month, $174 million per year,” Dr. Mahadeo said.