Guyana moves to strengthen medical labs
Guyana Chronicle
June 30, 2004

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OFFICIALS yesterday began a four-day workshop aimed at strengthening medical laboratories in Guyana.

Support for the European-funded project has come from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The workshop is intended to develop a draft strategic plan to strengthen the national medical laboratory services and linkages and collaboration between public and private sector medical and public health laboratories, and to define areas of support required from CAREC’s medical laboratory in Trinidad.

PAHO/WHO Representative here, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, told participants that the workshop was particularly timely with the move for a strategic plan towards developing laboratories in Guyana.

She said Guyana was at the point of readiness in addressing the many issues in the development of medical laboratories and many opportunities were available to the country due to the input of several partners, including the European Union.

At the national level, with financial and technical support from overseas agencies, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Guyana has worked extremely hard to rally support from its partners and “therefore it is of critical importance that we all work together in order to achieve the maximum input and the impact in the medium,” she said.

Theodore-Gandi said development of laboratories faces many challenges and particularly in Guyana since most qualified microbiologists migrate to the Caribbean.

Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said the health sector in Guyana has made tremendous advancement over the last decade.

But he noted that with each step forward there were significant weaknesses that impede health for all and the issue of equity still looms large.

He also urged senior health officers stuck to their desks to get out and get to know the national health plan.

He said there was need for development in medical laboratories in Guyana.

Laboratories play a central role in the delivery of timely and reliable health care, underpinning in large measure the success of disease control, elimination and prevention efforts, officials said.

They noted that labs are often the first site of detection and confirmation of disease outbreaks and a major health information hub, producing critical and relevant information for patient care and treatment, epidemiology surveillance and political decision-making.

Also at the opening of the workshop were Chief Medical Technologist at the National Blood Transfusion Service, Ms. Lynette Hardy, Project Manager with CAREC, Ms. Valerie Wilson, Laboratory Supervisor, Davis Memorial Hospital, Ms. Audrey Anderson and EU Representative, Ms. Helen Jenkinson.