…as ‘Grassroots’ agreement with Japan concludes
An agreement between the Governments of Guyana and Japan, which saw the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) benefiting from just over $18M worth of medical equipment, officially came to an end yesterday.
The equipment received included six Pediatric patient monitors, six overbed tables, five Pediatric Infusion pumps, four Pediatric Ventilators, three Auriscopes and three Ophthalmoscopes,
Health sector representatives, Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, GPHC’s CEO Dr. Michael Khan, Director of Nursing Services Ms Audrey Cory and Director (ag.) Financial and General Service of GPHC Mr Robbie Rambarran, expressed their gratitude to First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Takaaki Kato, for the kind contributions of his country.
Mr. Rambarran explained that a few years ago, Senior Nursing Volunteer, Ms. Sumiko Yoshida, while attached to the Pediatric unit of GPHC, conceived the initiative upon realising the institution’s dire need for modern medical equipment.
It was Yoshida’s passion, which pushed a memorandum of understanding between the Japanese government and GPHC into existence on March 22, 2013. The objective of the project was the creation of a child-friendly health care system and environment.
Kato explained that the project was funded under the Japan Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects, and that the grant has “extended support to the activities of GPHC, as it seeks to create a modernised paediatric critical care environment, that can produce a more effective and efficient service to all patients and their families.”
With the completion of the project, GPHC is now better equipped to achieve its project objectives in establishing and equipping the paediatric critical care ward with current technology.
Minister Ramsaran decided to use yesterday’s ceremony as a platform to address his government’s vision for the medical sector, and to highlight all that the ruling party has done as projected by the Millennium Development Goals.
He told Mr. Kato that the Government of Guyana is not taking this as a “simple handout to a third world country, so that we can come begging for more”. He reinforced the fact that Government of Guyana is dedicated to maintaining the machines, and facilitating sustainability in the health sector.
In discussing the important role that the initiative played in the current success of GPHC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Ramsaran said he must start from the genesis of the problems.
Ramsaran stressed the importance of maintaining a low under-five mortality rate, and ensuring that child health care remains the hospital’s biggest priority. He admitted that just a few years ago, Guyana was doing poorly and had a high under-five mortality rate. He explained that the most vulnerable were children of the 0-28 days-old category.
“As a result, the neonatal intensive care unit was introduced, and with the help of securing grants like that which we received from Japan, there was a gradual decrease in the mortality rate.”
Ramsaran said that as success began to flow at the GPHC, interventions were made at the West Demerara, New Amsterdam and Linden Hospitals. These interventions facilitated the institution of new incubators and massive training of nurses and medical practitioners in neonatal care for underweight babies, and those with underdeveloped lungs.
The minister also boasted of a slight reduction in stillbirths and abortions (those babies which were not carried full term).
Ramsaran said that the equipment which was received under the Grassroots Project fuses greatly with the objective of the International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF).
“ICHF is merging with this initiative, since they train in using and maintenance of equipment which Japan provided”.
ICHF currently has a team carrying out evaluations of the medical equipment in Guyana. They will be sending another team to Guyana in a few weeks to commence training in usage and maintenance of modern medical equipment. On Wednesday last, Biomedical Engineer Roy Morris of ICHF explained that his team is dedicated to improving the knowledge and skills of staff at GPHC.
Minister Ramsaran referred to the efforts of Morris and his team, as “a grand gesture, from a grand organization” since the Government of Guyana will be bearing very little expense in facilitating the project.
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