RHO benefit from capacity building sessions – review second quarter, regional performances

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, July 6, 2017

Regional Health Officers (RHOs) and senior health officials from the ten administrative regions are currently engaged in a staff training and capacity building sessions at the Lake Mainstay Resort in Essequibo.

The two-day session (June 6 to 7) is being held under the theme, “Collaboratively we build a resilient health care system that is acceptable, accessible, timely and appropriate to meet the needs of every person in Guyana.”

The training is aimed towards developing and strengthening the human and institutional resources, in the health facilities across the country, by equipping the healthcare professionals with the required skills.

Usually the RHOs meet quarterly in the budgeted year to review their successes and failures. This time around, the Regional Health Services Department of the Ministry of Public (MoPH) saw it fit to utilse the RHO’s meeting period to build the capacity of the health officials.   This is aimed at extensively creating awareness on government policies relating to health, financing in the health sector and budgeting for the health sector.

The MoPH is currently on the move to renew public health care and is restructuring the existing health system in Guyana.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings addressing the session today underscored the need for the ministry to exercise more control over the health sector within the regions. With more than 380 health facilities throughout Guyana, the Minister said that there is need for the central Ministry to push for the establishment of Regional Health Authorities in the regions. This, she said, would see the efficient renewal of all levels of health care.

Dr. Cummings said that based on her visit to several Caribbean countries and having seen how the public health system is run in these countries, the responsibility rests with the Ministry to manage all regional health sector budgets.

According to the Minister, there is a RHA Act of 2005 which legally provides for the establishment of this authority in each region. However, since the sector is currently being restructured, there are necessary amendments that must be made to the document, the Minister said.

RHAs will be governed by this Act and the Act will be instituted by a Board of Directors along with Chief Executive Officers. But, even as the RHOs welcomes the RHAs, Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organsiation (PAHO/WHO) Advisor on health systems, Dr. Paul Edwards cautioned that once there will be RHAs, the MoPH must be able to set standards for health services in addition to crafting policies and exercising governance. Dr. Edwards said, “the central ministry must be strong” in order to have efficiently run RHAs.

The RHOs agreed that this capacity building exercise is timely even as the MoPH is geared and pushing for the establishment of RHAs. The pilot RHA in Region Six has experienced challenges in terms of financial and human resource management.

However, Minister Cummings noted that this pilot RHA sets itself as an example where shortfalls can be corrected and successes be taken advantage of.

 

By: Delicia Haynes

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