Region six health sector gearing to provide better services

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, September 29, 2016

Residents of Mara , East Bank Berbice are looking forward to the opening of the new health centre in their community. Construction of the centre is moving apace. When completed, it will replace the old Mara/ Schepmoed Health Centre that has been abandoned for more than five years.

Director of Health Services in Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens

Director of Health Services in Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens

Director of Health Services in Region Six, Jevaughn Stephens told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that in addition to the health centre, the Region has also “upgraded and added new facilities for doctors and nurses.”

The residents at Mara and other neighboring villages are forced to travel 25 miles to the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital to seek medical attention.

According to Stephens, a number of other capital projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2016. “We are about 84% of our implementation plan with regards to the 2016 budget. Some of the capital projects that were included is the construction of the 14 bed High Dependancy Unit (HDU) which is presently under construction there is also phase three of the outpatient department (OPD3). This would include laboratory services and so  on, also on call facility for doctors,” Stephens said.

Stephens noted that with major expansions scheduled to be completed shortly, there is need for specialised staff and doctors to be provided. This will eventually reduce the number of referrals coming from the region, he said.

“At the moment, our programme has 554 health care providers. While it may sound like a large amount we are still, to my estimation, about 100 short. … our vision is to ensure that at all health centres in the region are equipped with a doctor,” Stephens explained.

There are also major plans for the sector in the 2017 budget. This include the expansion of the Accident and Emergency Unit at the Regional Hospital and  employment of doctors and other ancillary staff who would be able to carry out computerized tomography (CT) scans.

Meanwhile, the Regional Health Authority in Region Six is pushing for greater collaboration with the Ministry of Communities and the regional Democratic Council.

“We have the Ministry of Communities and the Ministry of Health and it is imperative that those two ministries are always on the same page as it regards to health care delivery. We found from time to time persons see health since it is programme five in our region as the least important and we’re calling on the RDC and also the Ministry of Communities to ensure that health is a priority because in my book everything in health is an emergency,” the Director of Regional Health Services, Region Six explained.

Addressing proposals put forward for the 2017 national budget, Stephens indicated that the priority is the A&E Unit. “We want to ensure our A&E is equipped for the amount of work that has to be taken care of and to reduce the amount of transfers we send to GPHC. That’s one of our primary goals for 2017,” he said.

According to Stephens, the region received a Philips CT (computed tomography) scan machine valued at about $40 million. He said this would reduce some of the overhead costs because at the moment patients are sent to private institutions to do regular scans.

Addressing reports of drug shortages, the Regional Health Director said that there were no alarming reports of this in the region. He explained that there has been an increase in demand for drugs and other medical supplies due to addition medical attention being given to persons from outlying regions and neighbouring Suriname.

“What would have been a factor to drug shortages is that we would have been forecasting based on the amount of persons we have in the region. But, we found as of recent, Surinamese, because health care is so expensive over there, they are frequently in our system and utilize our resources. Now you have to factor in that for going forward in 2017,” he explained

Region Six has one Regional Hospital, three district hospitals, two nationalised health facilities namely the Ophthalmology centre at Port Moruant and the Psychiatric hospital at Canje. Additionally, there are 27 health centres and health posts.

By: Delicia Haynes