Guyana’s first Polyclinic to be fully operational next month

Guyana Chronicle
January 20, 2003

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GINA - The Ministry of Health continues to coordinate national efforts to improve the health infrastructure.

The Ministry of Health overseers the delivery of health services in the ten Administrative Regions. However, each Region has the responsibility to maintain and, in some cases, build new health facilities.

The Ministry's budget facilitated the construction of Guyana's first Polyclinic at Enmore. Due to several difficulties, including lack of electricity supply, at present the Polyclinic only offers services equivalent to that of a Health Centre. Partial operation only began in December 2002.

However, Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy had indicated that the Polyclinic would be fully operational by February 1, 2003.

The Guyana Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has operational responsibility for the Polyclinic.

History was created in the sugar-based rural community of Enmore, located some 15 miles from Georgetown, along the East Coast of Demerara, in Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica) when the Polyclinic was commissioned on March 22, 2002. The facility is dedicated to the Enmore Martyrs and the other freedom heroes of the 1948 struggle on the British sugar plantation.

The $28M L-shaped structure is situated at the corner of Market Street and Enmore Road. It is regarded not only as a fulfillment of a modern shift in health care provision, but also of a promise made by Dr. Cheddi Jagan during the 1940's to the residents of Enmore.

President Bharrat Jagdeo had renewed this promise during the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) 2001 general elections campaign.

For Enmore villagers, the clinic effectively ends the more-than-two-mile journey to the two nearest Health Centres - one at Melanie to the West and the other at Nabaclis to the east. The Polyclinic will also cater for the increased demand as a result of various housing developments.

As an extension of the GPHC, the Polyclinic will provide specialist outpatient services, specialist clinics in general and orthopaedic surgery, and internal medicine. Obstetrics, gynaecology and mental health clinics, similar to those at the Georgetown hospital, will also be conducted.

The facility is expected to provide radiology, pharmacy and laboratory services in at least the first stage of emergency treatment. Patients from outlying Health Centres may also be referred to the Polyclinic.

This Polyclinic represents a response to the new concept of health care and recognition that, as far as possible, health delivery should be community-based.

Government recently embarked on a programme to build health facilities in large communities to ease some of the GPHC's workload.

GPHC attended to about 1,000 patients per day during 2001. In 2002 there were 220,000 patients visiting the institution at an average of about 600 visits daily.

As a result, Health Centres were constructed at Lusignan and Enterprise, also on the East Coast, and at Edinburgh, East Bank Berbice in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne).

The $23.5M structure at Lusignan and the $23M edifice at Enterprise were built by Kassim Ali Construction. Both are concrete buildings measuring 58 by 72 feet, with accommodation for Medexes and nurses.

The project was executed by Government in collaboration with the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP). Guyana now has more than 400 health facilities countrywide.

Hinterland communities have Health Posts and Health Huts in most of the communities and several more will be commissioned soon.

Region Four has had difficulties bringing the Lusignan and Enterprise Centres into operation. The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Local Government and the RDC of Region Four collaborated during December last to ensure that these Centres were urgently brought into operation. The Region has been preparing the Centres for operation and some of the staff have been identified and assigned to the Centres. A new hospital was built in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government at Kamarang.

In its bid to improve infrastructure in the health sector, Government also installed a fully functioning Low V-vision Centre at the GPHC, providing diagnosis and spectacles at low cost to the public. Infrastructure work on a Cancer Treatment Centre including a bunker, continued at the national referral hospital.

Last year, a new Burns Unit was commissioned at the Georgetown Public Hospital. This was accomplished through the assistance of Plasticos Charities of Canada.

A Radiography Suite was completed at the Skeldon Hospital.

Rehabilitation and construction work were also accomplished at the Vector Control Unit at GPHC, the Pharmacy Bond, the Linden Hospital Complex, the National Psychiatric Hospital, the Mibikuri Hospital; the Entomology Building, Ministry of Health Annex (GAHEF) and the Central Supplies Unit.

A ramp was constructed for the disabled at the Ministry of Health. Repairs were done to the Charles Roza School of Nursing, the Statistical Building, the building of the National Blood Transfusion Centre, various Health Centres in Georgetown, including Lodge, Agricola and Campbellville, the Doctors' Flats and the Cheshire Home at Mahaica.

The Kitty Health Centre was relocated during the year. The Operating Room at the West Demerara Hospital was completed in 2002 and should be operational by February.

With the assistance of UNICEF, the Ministry of Health has completed a technical evaluation of the solar system in the hinterland with a view to rehabilitating and upgrading the system this year. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION AGENCY)

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