Regions One, Three, Five receive river transport totalling $23M to improve health services

The Ministry of Health Wednesday morning handed over five boats along with outboard engines totalling $23 million to facilitate access to efficient and high-quality health services for thousands of residents in communities across Regions One, Three, and Five.

Three of the river taxis will be dispatched to serve communities in Region One, while the remaining two will be dispatched to Regions Three and Five.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony at the simple handing over ceremony

During the handing over ceremony at the ministry’s Central Supply Unit (CSU) in Kingston, Georgetown, General Medical Officer of Region One, Dr. Anil Tulsie highlighted that several communities in the region cannot access health services efficiently, but the new gifts will make things much easier for residents there.

In Region Three, around 9,000 persons in the riverine areas will benefit according to the Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr Erica Forte, who explained that it is costly to transport patients to access care on the coast.

Regional Health Officer (RHO) of Region Three, Dr Erica Forte

“As you know, Region Three covers the Essequibo River as well…Which includes two large islands, Wakenaam and Leguan…This boat will be able to ensure that these persons can access healthcare on the coastland at a faster rate,” she disclosed.  

RHO of Region Five, Dr Theresa Sarju pointed out that about 1,200 residents of Moraikobai will also benefit from the new river transportation, while residents of Mora Point along the Moraikobai River will also be served.

Regional Health Officer (RHO) of Region Five, Dr Theresa Sarju

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said the health transportation network has improved over the last three years, due to investments made by the administration to improve health services.

The health minister noted that the new boats add to the existing fleet which was provided during the last few years, thereby supplementing the transportation needs of the regions.

Dr Anil Tulsie, General Medical Officer of Region One

“The primary use would be to move patients in an emergency setting, but we’ll also be using these boats to do outreaches because of the remoteness where they’ll be operating. Villages are often far apart and what we want to do is to put medical teams on these boats so that they can go to various communities and deliver care,” the minister added.

He also urged persons to take good care of the boats and to utilise them for their intended purposes.

Minister Anthony was accompanied by Hinterland Coordinator, Michael Gouveia and Deputy Director of Regional Health Services, Ravendra Dudhnath at the ceremony.