New in-patient facility planned for Georgetown Hospital
- $$ to be spent on vaccines, chronic diseases

Stabroek News
February 6, 2007

Related Links: Articles on GPHC
Letters Menu Archival Menu

A new in-patient facility at the public hospital, further expansion of primary health approaches to chronic diseases and continued development of the immunization programme are among the key objectives budgeted for this year in the health sector.

The sector's budget is tipping $10 billion and according to Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, the focus is on rolling out a comprehensive package of publicly guaranteed services which include basic primary care as well as hospital services.

He said budgetary allocation to the sector has increased a great deal with the ministry receiving $750 million more than last year and the public hospital being awarded some $800 million more. In addition, he said, international partners spend between $1-2 billion in the health sector annually.

Briefing the media yesterday on some of the health sector's plans for the year, Ramsammy said heightened focus will be on chronic disease because they continue to be of major concern to the sector. He noted that cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death locally. Additionally, he said, diabetes and cancer will also be placed in the bracket of diseases to be addressed seriously.

"The sedentary lifestyles that many people across the country have adopted are becoming an increasing health problem. Many people have also changed their eating habits. The sector continues to face all kinds of challenges but we are taking them on this year," he stressed.

The minister said prevention programmes for malaria and tuberculosis are among the objectives the ministry has outlined this year.

Emphasising the need for a strong immunization programme, he said there will be further expansion in this year with a focus on getting new drugs that are now commercially available.

Currently Guyana's immunization programme has over 90 percent coverage. Before the year is out, he said, three new vaccines are likely to be introduced to protect against rotavirus, meningitis and the human papillomavirus.

As regards buildings, he said many of the structures at the Georgetown Public Hospital are targeted for demolition, adding that a new in-patient facility will be constructed shortly. Added to that, the ministry is already looking at a design for the National Psychiatric Hospital in Berbice.

Ramsammy pointed out that this goes with the new mental health programme to be implemented.

At Linden, the hospital is still under construction. He said the hospital is one of the bigger projects which are ongoing. Outside of this a new public health lab is to be constructed as part of an $800 million US-funded project.

Ramsammy noted that some of the construction projects in the sector which began last year have not been completed. This, he said, is one of the problems the sector faces. He singled out the diagnostic centre which is still being constructed.

In 2006 Ramsammy said the public spent $1 billion on health services in the private sector. Whereas the majority of the $8 billion allocated to the health sector was expended.