Telemedicine to come on-stream year end

─ equipment installed in four health facilities

─ Health Personnel to receive training before operation commence

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 22, 2019

Clearly understanding the role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the ongoing development and modernisation of our economy, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications is working to accelerate advancements in the ICT sector.

Under the $7Billion (US$34M) National Broadband Project, the government has installed videoconferencing equipment for use in telemedicine applications in four of the 30 health clinics identified. In particular facilities Baracara and Orealla in Region 6 and the New Amsterdam and Bartica Regional Hospitals in Regions 7 and 6, respectively.

An operational manual has been developed and in the second half of this year, medical personnel in these locations will receive training on the correct use of the equipment. Videoconferencing equipment was also purchased for the instalment at health facilities in Regions 1, 6, 7, 8 and 9 with training slated for health professionals stationed at the facilities before the end of 2019.

In April, the telemedicine initiative came onstream in Orealla Health Centre allowing the doctors and other medical personnel stationed there to have direct video communication facilities such the New Amsterdam Regional Hospital and other hinterland health centres. It was highlighted that the service vastly improves the health centre’s capacity to conduct diagnoses and facilitates direct contact with specialists. It allows the staff stationed there to speak in “real-time” with specialists.

Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence welcomed the project stating that it will open new doors within the health sector.

“When this programme is launched it will cut dependency on the current medevac services for interior residents, especially alleviating Maternal and Child Health issues in the Hinterland regions.”

According to PAHO/WHO office in Georgetown, the Guyana Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will act as the national telemedicine hub, building capacity in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the effective implementation of the telemedicine programme.

Other benefits will see the expansion of decentralised specialist care from the country’s four main regional hospital providers development and the development of a community of practice for telemedicine to provide teaching and counselling around complex cases.