GPHC's maternity, child care services further enhanced
- G$40M in equipment donated
By Alex Wayne
Kaieteur News
April 20, 2007

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Guyana 's maternity and child care services received a considerable boost on Wednesday when some G$40M in equipment was handed over to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), a contribution made possible through a joint venture between the World Health Organisation and European Union (EU).

Through an agreement between the two entities, Guyana benefited from some $1.9M euros allocated for various ventures of which Wednesday was the first.

On hand to deliver the shipment were several representatives from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) who are actually responsible for purchasing the equipment with financing from the EU.

The handing over ceremony was held in the Multipurpose Room of the GPHC.

Chairing the programme GPHC's Director of Medical and Professional Services Dr. Madan Rambarran indicated that over the last two years the hospital's relationship with PAHO has developed significantly. He added that the organisation has assisted with improving the institution's systems, its capacity building as well as improvement in the child care and maternity sectors.

He lauded the major health bodies for their assistance, emphasising that it continues to make the work of the hospital much easier. Addressing the media and other invitees, PAHO Country Representative, Dr. Kathleen Israel explained that PAHO is the agency responsible for a sizeable project funded by the European Union, which covers the areas of safe motherhood and control of malaria, in addition to HIV\AIDS.

Wednesday's donation was geared at enhancing and developing the area of safe pregnancy and motherhood which is said to be the largest component of the EU-funded project. Dr. Israel stressed that abundant resources were assigned to the project which will be used for purchasing equipment, supporting child care, training of health professionals, and enhancing the quality of care for women and children.

She lauded the Ministry of Health for highlighting these important issues in their plan.

The PAHO official cautioned that while Guyana has made tremendous strides in the areas of maternal and infant mortality, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Some thirty-one different types of equipment were handed over to staff at the GPHC. These included Patient Monitors, Doppler FHR Detectors, Phototherapy Units, Computers, Projectors, Infant Ventilators, Endotracheal Tubes, Physiological Monitors, Infant Incubators and an HP Color Laser Jet 2600n printer, among others.

Addressing the gathering, Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy described the occasion as “another important event in the life of Guyana 's health sector”. The minister said that the items presented would not only benefit the GPHC, but also to enhance the health sector in Region # 6.

Dr. Ramsammy gave assurances that the health sector would be vastly improved with the donation and expressed the ambitious hope of having no maternal or infant deaths.

The Minister said that worldwide some five hundred thousand women die each annually during childbirth, of which in excess of ninety percent, it is estimated, could have been prevented.

He explained that though workshops are held to induce preventative measures, many times the unavailability of equipment is the bugbear.

Minister Ramsammy indicated that there is still room for improvement in the health sector and with the arrival of the equipment they are better prepared for many eventualitites.

According to the minister, the number of women that die in childbirth in Guyana is still too high though it might appear minimal to many. He stressed that the annual deaths are unacceptable in accordance with standards set by his ministry.

Ramsammy added that there is also a distinct need for the sector to make available to the public, the necessary services that will make a pregnancy safe and ensure babies are not only born, but survive the critical early months.

According to the minister, more than seventy five percent of infant mortality occurs in the first few months of life. He pointed out that neonatal mortality (first four weeks after birth) represents the bulk of Guyana 's infant mortality rate, thus the health ministry has to ensure that neonatals in particular become a primary focus.

Ramsammy said that while it is good to have received the equipment it is very important that his ministry remains focused on training. He revealed that the donation comes at a time when the health sector is on the verge of implementing its perinatal information system, even as they are looking at the integration of a maternal information system.

The minister said these systems contribute to upgrading, training, and improving the processes involved in safe motherhood and childhood.

He urged those present to continue to work in an integrated manner and to be driven by the same motivation to achieve the dream of preventing deaths during childbirth or directly after.