Berbice regional health committee launched
Stabroek News
September 16, 2002

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The Berbice Interim Health Management Committee (IHMC), part of the Government of Guyana, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US$2.75M initiative to reform the health sector, was commissioned on Saturday.

Starting with this committee as a pilot in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), other committees are to be established to manage health services in the various administrative regions, as the government embarks on a programme to strengthen health care delivery countrywide, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported last week.

The Region Six committee comprises both medical and non-medical personnel, and the members were chosen after wide consultations with various organizations in the region, including the Berbice Medical Association, the Berbice Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Berbice, religious groups and communities, GINA stated.

The interim committee will comprise: David Armagon (businessman/ accountant - New Amsterdam); Phulmattie Ganesh (nurse, National Insurance Scheme - Crabwood Creek); Bhawase Chandra Haripaul (headmaster, No. 59 Primary School - Skeldon); Paulette Henry (social worker - New Amsterdam); Shri Khirodar (pharmacist - Port Mourant); Dr Walter Singh (Albion); Rev. Roy Tachurdyal (pastor, vice president of the Guyana Council of Churches - Canje); Ashton Warde (bank manager, Nova Scotia - New Amsterdam); Dr Joseph Kalikapershad (regional health officer, Ministry of Health); and a Regional Democratic Council (RDC) representative.

Members of the committee, GINA added, are scheduled to have their first meeting this week.

The Directors of Planning and Regional Services at the Ministry of Health, Aubrey Williams and Dr Khemdat Umadat and Head of the Health Sector Reform Unit, Dr Frank Anthony, will provide technical assistance to the new committee in putting together its programme, GINA said.

The committee will be tasked with getting familiar with the current health system and preparing a budget for 2004, since it is too late for any such input in the 2003 budget, GINA quoted Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy as saying.

“It was decided that an interim committee will be established to work with the RDC to incrementally devolve authority for the health sector to the management committee,” Minister Ramsammy said.

The Interim Management Committee will be responsible for the effective management of all public health institutions within Region Six.

Under the new system, the Regional Health Officer (RHO) of the region will now become the Medical Director, GINA further said.

According to the Minister, the committee will report to a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) whom the ministry will provide, as the Regional Health Authority does not have a budget.

“While the ministry will continue to monitor the facilities, the day-to-day running of all the health centres and hospitals will be the responsibility of the committee,” Ramsammy noted.

An integral part of health sector reform is the decentralization of health care delivery, with the intention of upgrading the regional health facilities to ease the burden from the national referral hospital - the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, GINA said.