GPHC expands service in drive to become state-of-art

Kaieteur News
March 19, 2007

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Government has launched a comprehensive, ambitious project aimed at making the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation comparable with others in the Caribbean .

Some aspects of the initiative are already in place but, according to Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy, the end of the five-year initiative will allow the GPHC to compete in all areas with the best hospitals in the Caribbean .

The Minister explained that a major aspect of the improvements will focus on the infrastructure of the institution.

All the old buildings will be demolished and replaced by modern ones.

The new in-patient building along Lamaha Street , for which the design has already been formulated, will cost approximately $1.6B.

Additionally, new services such as hip replacement, heart surgery, cancer treatment, glaucoma surgery and vitreo-retino-surgery are already being offered or are at advanced stages of implementation at the GPHC, the Minister noted.

He added that plans are in place to have all operations of the hospital computerised soon.

A new, modern IT-based library is to be established at the GPHC.

Recently the hospital established a virtual library which is functioning smoothly, according to Dr Ramsammy.

With regards to training, the Minister noted that a number of programmes are being enhanced.

Already, a post-graduate surgical programme has started with five young doctors. A new post-graduate programme for Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is also in the advanced stages of preparation.

Similar programmes in other areas are in various stages of planning, the Minister said, adding that an Education Department which will handle all aspects of training is being established.

An active research programme has already emerged and more specialists are to be hired to make it effective. “We want to make the GPHC equal to and competitive with any hospital in Barbados , Trinidad and Jamaica .

“Guyanese would not need to travel to any Caribbean country for health care since the GPHC would be able to do everything hospitals in the Caribbean can do,” Minister Ramsammy said.

Commenting on plans for cancer diagnosis and treatment, the Minister noted that Guyana 's health care has been boosted significantly with the establishment of the oncology centre at the GPHC.

He said that new diagnostic programmes for cancer will soon be launched.

These include mammography, pap smear, PSA, HPV and other DNA-based testing for breast cancer and other forms of cancer.

“We have already expanded our capacity for pap smear and we have introduced alternative interventions such as VIA and LEEP. We are in the process of acquiring technology for HPV testing and, as we speak, new mammography equipment have arrived in the country.”

He noted that radiotherapy is now available at the GPHC, which more than 100 Guyanese have so far accessed.

He said the list of cancer drugs for chemotherapy is being further expanded.

Recently, the GPHC began offering diagnostic services for heart diseases and heart surgeries, including valve replacements and by-pass surgeries.

Several Guyanese have benefited from a state-of-the-art stress test capacity at the GPHC and seven Guyanese who would have had to endure huge expenses to obtain angiography services abroad have so far benefited from this programme.

The Minister also disclosed plans to intensify the fight against chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cancer in order to reduce mortality and morbidity.

Aggressive health promotion programmes will target these diseases and community health facilitators are being trained to work in every community to bring public awareness to people.

“Persons will be trained to monitor their blood pressure, sugar level and their weight,” Minister Ramsammy said.

The National Council for the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles will also play an active role in promoting good nutrition, physical exercise, reduction of tobacco use and alcohol and substance abuse. (Melanie Allicock)