Some 200 benefit from Rotary medical outreach in Region Ten
Stabroek News
September 26, 2002

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Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) residents living 45 miles down the Demerara River at Tenabu welcomed and made full use of a one-day medical outreach project conducted in their area on Sunday by the Rotary Club of Demerara.

According to Community Services Director of Rotary, Sylvia Conway, the decision to take the outreach to Tenabu was made when Regional Health Officer, Region Ten, Pansy Armstrong who was present at the club's planning meeting, told members of the dire need for medical services in the area. She said that initially the outreach was planned for just Coomacka, another community in Region Ten.

However, the team of more than ten doctors including Dr Carl Niamatali of New Amsterdam, Drs M.Y. and Esau Bacchus and other local and foreign doctors was split into two to serve the two areas. Dr L. Armstrong, a dentist attached to the Linden Hospital Complex, and nurses attached to One-Mile Health Centre also joined the team. About 200 patients at Tenabu received treatment for dental caries, obstetrics and gynaecology problems, respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea, dermatitis, worm infestation, fungal infections, diabetes and heart problems.

Dr Niamatali, who led the Tenabu team, said he was very happy to note that there was no patient who had to be referred for urgent medical attention, considering that there is no medical facility in the area. Further, he said, he is currently working with Direct Relief International (DRI) to garner more medical supplies, equipment, boats and other necessities for riverain communities.

Community Health Worker attached to the area, Ann Harvey, told Stabroek News that there was no medical outpost or clinic. "For years I have been utilizing part of my home to deliver medical services to persons in this community."

She said that persons in need of urgent medical attention usually have to travel to Linden or more than 45 miles to Timehri, by boat. Harvey also expressed concern that there was no school in the area.

The health worker also noted that her husband, a retired headmaster, utilized a part of their home to teach the children. But shortly, she said, someone else will have to assume the responsibility since her husband was advanced in age and could no longer continue the task.

At the end of the day Dr Niamatali donated a quantity of medical supplies to the community health worker. Direct Relief International (an overseas-based group which has made many donations to the government and private hospitals across Guyana over the years), the Medical Diagnostic Clinic of New Amsterdam and Dr Fawcett Jeffrey made the supplies available.

The outreach was supported by several other agencies and individuals, including the youth arm of Rotary, the Rotaract, National Bank of Industry & Commerce (NBIC), among others.

The main economic activity at Tenabu is banana farming but residents are slowly transferring to hunting, fishing and logging since they claim they receive very little in return for their bananas and other fruits which are mainly sold in Linden and Timehri. (Cathy Wilson)