Health sector attracts US$25.5M from IDB

Kaieteur News
February 9, 2007

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The Ministry of Health, through its Health Sector Development Unit, (HSDU) yesterday officially kicked off the third phase of its reform programme at the Georgetown Club.

The programme is aimed at developing the health sector. The objectives are to improve the effectiveness, quality and equity in access to health service in Guyana .

It is also intended to strengthen the organisational and institutional capacity of the health sector and to improve the health delivery system. The US$25.5M five-year project which was signed between the Ministry of Health and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in July 2006 is linked to the National Health Plan.

The government is co-financing the project which consists of two major components—organisational development and health services delivery improvement.

The organisational development component includes institutional strengthening to support the Ministry of Health, the Regional Health Authority of Regions Six and Ten, and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Improving the national human management information system including human resource, patients' records, health facilities, financial resources and overall sector performance and improving access to essential drugs and other health care supplies for all Guyana is also included in the programme.

The health services delivery improvement component consists of the rehabilitation and construction of a new Hospital Complex at Linden along with the procurement installation and maintenance of medical equipments.

Works on the Clinical block of the new Linden Hospital Complex has commenced and is projected to be completed in February 2008.

The construction of new in-patient wards at the GPHC along with the rehabilitation and upgrading of the water, electricity and sewerage facilities are also on the cards.

In addition, ten district hospitals are to be converted into cottage hospitals or health centres.

IDB representative, Antonio Gluffrida; Executive Director of HSDU, Keith Burrowes and Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, all addressed the launching.

Dr. Ramsammy said that the program had started its implementation some time ago and that even putting the programme together took quite some time. Mr. Gluffrida started working on the programme in 2003 and even before that, works were being done on this project.

“There were many persons who worked with us in making recommendations for changes in the health sector. That was followed by an agreement with the IBD which at that stage, in 2001, when we opened a known programme to start implementing the recommendations from the health sector institutional strengthening,” Dr. Ramsammy stated.

He said that the IDB then came into play and Mr. Gluffrida was authorised to begin discussions about the $10M grant to the Guyana Government.

Minister Ramsammy added that only about $3M of that money was to be negotiated as part of a civil work component.

“By the time we got to discussing this project, the physical reconstruction of the health sector had already started and indeed it was a previous collaboration with the IDB that had led to the beginning of the reconstruction of the Ambulatory Care Centre that houses the theatre, lab, the x-ray facility, and the Accident and Emergency Unit at the Georgetown Public Hospital and several of the outpatient clinics,” Dr. Ramsammy pointed out.

He noted that the project allows for the expansion and acceleration of the physical reconstruction. This project, he said is not intended to solve all of the warehousing problems but with the launching of the IDB health strengthening project, through collaborative arrangements, warehousing practices and facilities in Guyana are being modernised and the IDB will be an important partner overall. According to the Minister, this project also recognises the importance of both health and management information systems.

As a result of this project, there will also be a system of governance in the health sector, the further modification of our development process and decentralisation of health which is not new in Guyana .

“This project will allow us to interact with each other so that national objectives are achieved at the local level. Arrangements such as service agreements with the Georgetown Public Hospital and the Health Ministry will enhance the Ministry's capacity for monitoring an evaluation for improving accountability in the health system.”