The PPP/C approach
This letter is not about partisan politics. It is about an approach to development which is inclusive and participatory in which the key players in the development process come together and pool their resources for the good of all. It is an approach which essentially brings together key players in the process of national development, namely the public and private sectors, in partnership with the community and community-based organizations. Hence the acronym – PPP/C approach.
This approach to development is very much in evidence at the Doobay Renal Centre located at Annandale, in which persons who suffer from kidney problems are offered dialysis treatment when necessary, at subsidized costs, something that is so badly needed in our country given the almost prohibitive cost of such treatment. There are scores of people who are condemned to a quiet death due to the fact that they cannot access dialysis treatment or if at all, the cost of such treatments is beyond their financial reach.
Thanks to a collaborative approach between the Ministry of Health, the Georgetown Hospital and the Doobay Renal Centre, dialysis services are not only made accessible to a larger number of patients, but at much lower costs than provided elsewhere. The Centre is currently in discussions with the Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Hospital to advance the treatment process to a much higher level by having kidney transplants done at no cost to renal failure patients, according to sources associated with the Centre.
According to a Chronicle report, it is expected that the kidney transplants will be done at the Georgetown Hospital which reportedly has already started to put measures in place for the operation. In fact, kidney transplants were already successfully done at the Georgetown Hospital in the past but were subsequently shifted to a private hospital.
The Doobay Renal Centre is a good example of public-private partnership with strong community input and support. Thanks to the Centre, a number of kidney specialists, (Nephrologists) have visited the country and attended to patients free of cost. I had the opportunity of speaking to nephrologist Dr. Azim Gangji during a recent visit to the Centre and was extremely impressed with his simplicity and professionalism in his interaction with patients. He took time to explain to patients the extent of their medical condition and the available options to them in an easy–to–understand and patient–friendly manner. Patients felt at ease in his presence, something that medical professionals sometimes take for granted in their interaction with patients.
Dialysis, according to the good doctor, ideally should be only a temporary measure until such time that a kidney transplant is done, which the Centre is prepared to do pro bono, provided the other conditions are met which include a kidney donor who has satisfied all of the eligibility criteria. Sharing a kidney to someone in need is not scary or life-threatening as it may at first appear, according to Dr. Gangji. In fact, he explained that there are several persons walking the streets that are surviving and carrying on healthy lives without even knowing that they only have a single functioning kidney.
The demand for kidneys in North America and other developed countries is much higher than the capacity to supply, which has resulted in an illegal underground market where donors are lured to sell their kidneys for modest sums of money by developed world standards. Most of these donors come from poor countries where income levels are so low that financial inducements are often difficult to resist even though the necessary post-care follow-up actions are not done, resulting in donors being put at risk, and in quite a few cases, resulting in deaths.
The idea of kidney transplants and dialysis treatment is relatively new to Guyana as indeed in other developing countries, but it need not be an unrealizable dream, one that could add years to people who otherwise are condemned to premature deaths. This is why the Doobay Renal Centre is deserving of all the support it could get, especially since it is a not-for-profit venture and is built around the lofty and humanitarian philosophy of service, especially to the poor and vulnerable in our society.
This is quite a costly venture, but one that is badly needed in our society. The Doobay Renal Centre has been mobilizing resources, both technical and financial to help offset operational costs and from all indications the collaboration with the Health Ministry and the Georgetown Hospital has been beneficial. The Georgetown Hospital has only recently installed Dialysis machines, which coupled with that of the Doobay Centre, is already impacting in a significant way on the number of persons who now benefit from the service. This is indeed a good beginning and credit must be given to Dr. Ram Doobay (whose brainchild I am told the Centre is) and his team for having recognized the value of such an undertaken and for devoting so much time and resources to make it happen. In this regard, mention must also be made of Mr. Vic Ouditt for his persistence and patience to get things moving on the ground. I am aware of the proactive role he played in moving the process along.
Guyana has come a far way in terms of providing health care and specialist treatment to patients who in the past had to go overseas for such treatment. The construction of a Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen along with that of the Caribbean Heart Institute and the Doobay Renal Centre will further advance the process of quality health care to the Guyanese people.