Intensive efforts being made to improve GPHC service
– Dr Derkenne
The capacity of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has been significantly bolstered through various residency programmes all geared at helping to foster continuous medical education and by extension lend to improvement of the level of health care offered.
Among those rendering their expert assistance to this cause is Dr Ruth Derkenne who has a wealth of experience in Family Medicine, as well as Obstetrics and Tropical Medical Medicine and Public Health.
She has for the past three years been attached to the GPHC along with her husband Dr Nicholas Foget who was invited by the officials of the Public Hospital to direct the Emergency Residency Programme there which started a few years back.
Armed with a wealth of skills, last year Dr Derkenne was asked to take up the post of Assistant Residency Director of the GPHC’s Residency Master’s Degree Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
During an interview, yesterday, she said that she and her husband made the decision to come to Guyana “because we both have an interest in global health and using the skills that we have to improve the capacity of doctors and nurses in countries.”
But even before embracing the Residency Master’s Programme, Dr Derkenne was involved in other training programmes for other levels of health workers such as the VIA cervical cancer screening programme, HIV training with a focus on the prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of the disease, Emergency Obstetric training as well as family planning training.
Her efforts also included a move towards helping to improve the overall delivery of health care which was taken a notch higher when the hospital decided to collaborate last year with the Case Western University in the United States to help establish the GPHC Residency Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
According to Dr Derkenne this move was engaged following the recognition of the powers that be in Guyana that a number of short programmes that were offered could only help but for a little while.
“What Guyana really needed was a long term sustainable programme to train specialists who would then stay in the country and care for the women of Guyana…”
Although the four-year training programme has started on a small scale, with six doctors currently in training, expert support is certainly not lacking. In fact the programme is currently on par with that offered in the United States and other countries.
Dr Derkenne said, yesterday, that for the first time Guyana has been asked to participate in the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (CREOG) examinations. The examination was administered over the past weekend by the Vice President for Education at the American College of Obstetrics and Gyneacology in the United States, Dr Sterling Williams.
“With our residents participating we will be able to compare how our residents are performing compared to residents in the US and many different countries around the world,” said Dr Derkenne.
According to her, the need for collaboration is essential since there are not enough specialists in Guyana to provide the intensity of training that is required for the Residency Master’s programme.
Every month at least one physician from the United States is invited to lecture to the residents in a particular area of the course.
Those undertaking the Residency programme are regarded as well established doctors with some having as many as 15 years medical practice in the local health sector.
But although the programme is slated to span a period of four years, Dr Derkenne insisted yesterday that “we certainly don’t need to wait four years to see results. In fact we have seen the standard of care improved already in the 10 months that the programme has been running and it may not be as obvious to the public because there are still occasions of bad outcomes but it takes a long time to completely change the system.”
She noted too that while the public may not be aware, there are great things that are happening at the GPHC.
According to her there are intensive efforts “coming from different supporters and changes are happening; things are improving and we hope that the public will be able to see that too.”