Geared at preparing health workers to deal with the H1N1 virus, a two-day Health Services Preparedness Pandemic Influenza workshop was engaged at the West Demerara Regional Hospital on Tuesday.
According to Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, the workshop represents the first in a series of Regional workshops to be held countrywide, particularly in areas that are densely populated.
“This is a follow on from a national workshop held a few weeks ago. We decided at that workshop to build local capacity and also to prepare health workers in the event that we have to deal with the H1N1 virus or any pandemic type flu.”
The workshop which concluded yesterday targeted health professionals of Region Three, including nurses, doctors, medics, and nursing assistants. Another workshop will be streamlined in the region shortly for other workers, according to Regional Health Officer, Dr Millicent Benjamin.
She, in a brief address to the participants, emphasised the importance of the workshop and sought to educate about the virus.
“It was just a short time we took to make preparation for this workshop because we know there is need for this information to be distributed to all health workers. This virus that is causing so many persons to be ill, and some have died, is spreading and it is coming closer to Guyana,” Dr Benjamin emphasised.
The workshop entailed sessions, facilitated by Acting Medical Superintendent, Dr Ravi Persaud; Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud; Epidemiology Nurse Joan Barry and Ms Renee Peroune among others, intended to heighten the health workers’ awareness of the influenza pandemic.
According to Dr Benjamin, with the information disseminated over the two-day period the participants are expected to be better able to address cases at the health facilities they operate, on the roadside, at home or wherever they encounter persons with signs and symptoms of influenza.
She however pointed out that there would be some challenges as it relates to human and financial resources
“Health workers that come in contact must be prepared with full gear and we know it will be a challenge…but we have to work with whatever we have. We can’t say because we don’t have the funds we cannot do anything. With whatever we have and with other resources we may get through donor organisations we will make preparation.”
Region Three Chairman, Julius Faerber, who graced the opening session of the workshop, expressed satisfaction that efforts were being made by the local health sector to address the pandemic even before it reaches Guyana.
“This workshop, in my opinion, is very vital at this point in time given the global situation.
We need to know what is happening and how it affects us here so it is my belief that this workshop was set so that you can have an understanding, so that you know how it is spread and how to control it if it does come.”
He noted that should there be an outbreak it could have implications on the population, a resource that is vital to the development of any country, thus the need to be proactive in combating the virus.
Similar workshops are slated for Regions Two, Six and Ten in the very near future.
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