Surinamese among non-nationals utilising local healthcare services
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, February 05, 2018
Persons from neighbouring countries continue to receive medical services at the New Amsterdam Hospital in Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne). Director of Health Services in the region, Jevaughn Stephens told the Department of Public Information (DPI) this is largely due to the fact the hospital’s data entry forms do not require information on the persons’ nationality.
“So, you realise they’re not Guyanese based on their accent and sometimes some are honest enough to tell us their nationality. Our data form is not designed to capture nationalities. It is designed this way because we do not want to discriminate however, we do want to give free healthcare to everyone,” Stephens explained.
Non-nationals benefitting from free healthcare services include Surinamese, Brazilians, and Haitians. Stephens said due to the fact that the bulk of Guyana’s healthcare is free, this large influx, of particularly Surinamese, remains constant.
According to Stephens last year, 13 Surinamese gave birth at the Port Mourant Hospital while approximately nine Haitians received health services at New Amsterdam Hospital. He noted, offering free healthcare services to non-nationals is not illegal and is in keeping with the mandate of not discriminating. However, this may result in drug shortages, which is currently being addressed by the Ministry of Public Health.
Along with these issues, there are many referrals from the Skeldon Hospital in Region Five, Mahaica Berbice. “They (Skeldon Hospital) send a lot of their patients over here, especially for maternity treatment. Most persons having their first child would leave Region Five and come to Region Six for their delivery,” the Director of Health Services explained. He pointed out that this may be as a result of the expertise of the obstetricians and gynaecologists attached to the New Amsterdam Hospital.
In 2017, the government stated that plans will be implemented to monitor the number of Surinamese who travel to Guyana to seek free medical attention at the New Amsterdam Hospital.
By: Ranetta a Fleur
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