US$25.5M health sector reform to emphasise accountability
Stabroek News
February 9, 2007

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Over the next five years a strong focus will be placed on institutional strengthening and physical reconstruction in the health sector through a US$25.5 million project co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and government.

Accountability in the sector and how health care services are delivered are high on the agenda of the project which is an extension of work that commenced some three years ago when the health sector started reforming.

Director of the Health Sector Development Unit, Ministry of Health, Keith Burrowes said yesterday at the official launch that building on the capacity of the health sector is another objective of the project. He said the health sector is in the third phase of the reform which commenced some time back.

Burrowes said focus will be placed on modernising the recruitment process and working on organisational development. He said advancing the information systems in the sector is another aim and this will be done at the central and regional levels.

He said much work has been done since the project was first agreed upon back in July 2006 and pointed to infrastructure works being carried out across the country particularly at Linden. In addition, he said, the maintenance systems in place in the sector will be reviewed.

Burrowes expressed hope that the legislative framework of the sector will be further enhanced through the project, adding that this is another area the sector has been paying keen attention to. He emphasised how critical the project is to the sector and lauded the contributions of both government and the IDB.

Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy in addressing the gathering noted that the project has a large civil works component. This, he said, is important since the sector has long recognised the need for much reconstruction. He said the project will expand and accelerate works being done and to be done in this particular area.

He said bids will soon go out for contractors to work on the Georgetown Public Hospital, adding that it is hoped that the contract would be signed by June so work could commence shortly after then. However Ramsammy said the public hospital and the hospital at Linden are not the only two hospitals which the sector is paying attention to, adding that there are other small projects to be completed.

According to the Minister, the five-year project, though critical to the sector, will not solve all of the problems it faces. But he said that through continued collaboration with partners such as the IDB the sector will be able to address all concerns as the years progress. He said the project is really an investment on the part of the sector in ensuring that its management, information and maintenance systems are all functioning effectively.

Further, Ramsammy pointed out that the project gives the sector the opportunity to enhance the decentralised system that is already working. He said it will allow for national objectives to be achieved at the central and local levels.

Ramsammy added that accountability best describes the overall objective of the project. He said this particular project will see to it that people in the sector are held accountable throughout its duration and long after.