With an increasing number of individuals suffering from kidney failure, there currently exists a major need for dialysis. To address this glaring dilemma, the Ministry of Public Health has been putting strategic measures in place.
This is according to Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings.
She disclosed during a media forum that “currently, the Ministry is exploring opportunities to train persons in the placement of catheters for peritoneal dialysis and is looking to decentralize this service across Guyana.”
In fact, she made known that the Ministry during the past year procured a once per month injectable erythropoietin for patients with kidney disease.
Erythropoietin (also known as EPO) is a growth factor that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Most of the cells in the blood are red blood cells, and their main function is to carry oxygen throughout the body. EPO is used to treat anemia resulting from kidney failure or cancer treatment. It is considered to be an alternative to blood transfusions.
According to Minister Cummings, “This drug can be administered at an outpatient setting, thus decreasing the frequency for hospitalization of patients with renal disease.”
These measures, according to the Public Health Minister, come as part of its efforts to further tackle the challenge of dealing with chronic non-communicable diseases.
She related that in 2016, health promotion for non-communicable diseases continued with the observance of World Kidney Day and World Health Day in collaboration with several organisations.
Activities hosted included a Continuing Medical Education session for some 300 Medical practitioners on kidney diseases as well as cricket matches and episodes of Merundoi that were focused on lifestyle changes to commemorate World Health Day 2016.
Added to this, in the quest to increase public awareness for chronic non-communicable diseases, 14 outreaches were conducted, which saw a total of 1,200 persons screened for diabetes mellitus, 2,306 for hypertension, and a total of 4,212 persons received treatment based on an outpatient setting.
During the course of this year, the Ministry will continue its mission to tackle chronic non-communicable diseases. In so doing, Minister Cummings said that some of the projections for the Ministry’s Chronic Disease Unit this year will include, among other things, the establishment of a formal non-communicable diseases organogram and Secretariat, and the reconstitution and re-launching of the National Commission on Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Disease.
According to information out of the Ministry of Public Health, 70 percent of the Ministry’s health budget is expended on addressing chronic non communicable diseases. The top four causes of premature death in Guyana are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.
The Public Health Minister said that although the Ministry is advocating for citizens to adopt healthy lifestyle changes to help tackle the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, the Chronic Diseases Unit of the Ministry of Public Health has the designated mission to address the aforementioned causes of premature death, thereby ensuring that a multi-sectoral, integrated approach is maintained.
Minister Cummings in regarding the process as an immense task noted that, “we at the Ministry of Public Health are optimistic that 2017 will bring additional achievements that further promote the work of the Unit.”
In collaboration with the Country Office of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Unit completed the first leg of the implementation plan for the years 2016 – 2018 in alignment with the Integrated Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Disease Strategic Plan 2013 – 2020.
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