In the quest to advance the delivery of cardiac care at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), a new Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) was yesterday commissioned during a simple ceremony.
And according to Head of Cardiology and Resident Cardiologist at the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI), Dr. Mahendra Carpen, “Today, we can boast that no citizen will be denied cardiac care because of their economic limitation and no citizen should have their dignity shaken when confronted with a sick family member.”
Dr. Carpen described yesterday’s ceremony as a celebration of yet another step in the continuing journey towards excellence in health care particularly in cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Carpen, remains the leading cause of death in the world but is more pronounced in the developing world. Even as he pointed out that the gap, quality and standard of care between nations is significant, the Cardiologist observed that from time immemorial the cost of advanced cardiac care has been prohibitive and only accessible to the privileged.
“In the early to mid-2000s it cost our country about US$500,000 to send 10 patients overseas for treatment. Today we can appropriately and adequately treat about 100 patients for about the same amount right here at home,” related Dr. Carpen.
But there hasn’t only been a distinction in the delivery of cardiac care between nations as according to Dr. Carpen there has even existed a glaring gap between the public and private sectors. This gap, the Cardiologist said, has
He, however, asserted yesterday that “today we announce major steps in bridging that gap and make a bid for the public sector to become the standard bearer and leader in the provision of tertiary cardiac care.”
“We have arrived at this point through the joint efforts and tremendous contributions of our friends and allies,” said the Cardiologist as he disclosed that a Cardiac Services Committee was established and sanctioned by the Ministry of Public Health with full commitment and support of the Ministers of Public Health – doctors George Norton and Karen Cummings.
The Committee, Dr. Carpen said, was tasked with developing the blueprint for cardiac care at the Georgetown Public Hospital and did so by devising a multi-faceted approach involving education and research, infrastructural development, non-invasive care and invasive care strategies.
But even as he questioned how we produce optimal results without sacrificing quality in the context of our social economical realities, Dr. Carpen revealed that education as well as non-invasive care and infrastructural development were led by Professors Wayne Warnica and Debra Isaacs of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, University of Calgary in Canada.
Dr. Warnica yesterday committed continued support to the cardiac care advancement at the GPHC “until you tell us you don’t need us anymore.”
Critical support was also forthcoming from the administrators of the GPHC, its nursing services and the Institute of Health Science Education.
With this support, cardiac care here in Guyana has advanced considerably. This has allowed even for CHI, which is housed at the GPHC and introduced as a public-private partnership, to offer invasive care.
This latest development, Dr. Carpen said, was realised after a landmark agreement was reached between CHI, the Ministry of Public Health and the GPHC. While CHI has been attending to the needs of the adults with cardiac issues, the International Children Heart Foundation has been lending its services to the GPHC to attend to children with heart diseases.
According to Dr. Carpen, “It has been my honour to be a part of all of this, to work with a team of amazing and dedicated professionals to get this done.”
All functions of the unit will be managed by Dr. Carpen.
Speaking at yesterday’s ceremony, Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, noted that the new Cardiac Intensive Care Unit was brought into being through an initiative called the Guyana Programme to Advance Cardiac Care (GPACC).
He disclosed that Government’s involvement in this venture is essential since the GPACC programme is one that aims to significantly improve provisions of patient care and enhance academic medical activities through educational research and clinical initiatives.
He disclosed that it was because of deliberate and strategic collaborations that a Cardiac ICU, complete with eight monitored-patient beds and five step-down beds, is not in place. The monitored-patient beds have the capacity to monitor rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and for invasive and pulmonary artery monitoring.
The Canada-based support through GPACC catered to the structural, functional and educational support which entailed the contribution of US$300,000 towards equipping the unit. In lauding the support that was forthcoming to bring the unit to fruition, Minister Norton noted that “This unit will allow us to take cardiac care to another level.”
Also lauding the support and the eventual realisation of the unit were GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer (ag), Dr. Sheik Amir, and Director of the Institute of Health Science Education, Dr. Madan Rambarran, who reflected on the evolution of cardiac care at the GPHC.
Following the official commissioning ceremony, a plaque was unveiled by Minister Norton and Professor Warnica after which a tour of the new facility was conducted.
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