‘Step-Down’ care facility to be reopened soon
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, March 12, 2018
Residents of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) will soon benefit from the reopening of its National Tuberculosis (TB) in-patient facility also known as the ‘Step-Down’ Care Centre located at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH). It is expected to be recommissioned on April 7.
This was revealed by National Tuberculosis Programme Manager, Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall, on Friday during a visit to the facility by Minister within Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.
The Step-Down Care Facility serves as an in-patient unit for persons with severe cases of TB that may require greater attention.
Dr. Mohanlall explained, “we saw the need for this (in-patient facility) since a lot of our patients need nutritional and psycho-social support, especially those who are Multi-Drug Resistant and could take as long to 18 months to two years to be treated and cured”.
The Programme Manager said the centre will cater for 18 to 20 beds, including isolation rooms for both male and female patients, with a pharmacy, kitchen, laundry shot among other areas factored in.
“We are hoping to operationalise the facility very soon, we had planned to commission the facility on March 24 for World TB Day, however, due to some setbacks regarding the allocation of equipment and appliances we were delayed. Things should be up and running on April 7. Staff from the chest clinic will be transferred to the department,” Dr. Mohanlall added.
Minister Cummings said while she is satisfied with the current state of the facility, she expects other amenities to be offered that will not only benefit the patients but the staff assigned to the care facility as well.
The minister stressed that though the number of TB cases has been reduced significantly, the Ministry of Public Health wants to ensure that in addition to testing and treatment offered at the facility for the chronic patients, an appropriate facility is in place to care for the patients.
“We (WDRH) have not opened it (Step-Down care) as yet but this is a look-see to ensure that everything is in place. We also looked at the human resources factor and other barriers that will prevent the flow of good quality healthcare offered at that facility,” Minister Cummings noted.
According to statistics, during 2015, Region Four accounted for more than 50 percent of the 439 new cases of TB recorded. The disease was extremely low in Regions Five, Eight and Nine, with a total of 18 new cases. Region Nine, however, recorded the lowest incidence – two; and Region Five the highest with ten.
In Regions One, Two, Three, Six, Seven and Ten, new cases ranged between 15 and 37, with Region Seven recording the lowest and Region Three the highest.
By: Neola Damon