With an increasing incident of patients inflicted with cancer on its register, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] is working towards expanding its Oncology Unit. In this regard, this publication was informed that moves are apace to relocate the operation of the unit to a more spacious environment.
Currently the unit is located obliquely opposite the entrance of the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit.
Reports suggest that the unit is likely to be relocated to a building nearing completion in the hospital’s compound that was previously intended to house a day care centre for the children of hospital staffers.
Without shedding too much light on the building intended to house the unit, Dr. Gillisa D’Aguiar, a Government Medical Officer attached to the Oncology Unit, informed that the construction to the facility is still in progress.
According to Dr. D’Aguiar, the building in question is expected to include wards dedicated to the care of cancer patients. This is particularly important, she said, since currently a cancer patient admitted to the hospital is placed on the open ward with other patients.
“This is not healthy for our patients, so we are hoping for this expansion,” said Dr. D’Aguiar, as she revealed that the move towards expansion will require additional staffers to cater to an expanded operation.
Currently, the Oncology Unit benefits from the services of three doctors, including Dr. D’Aguiar, Dr. Nyron Ramsundar [GMO] and Consultant and Head of Department, Dr. Justo Despaigne Delisle.
Dr. Delisle, a Cuban national, has been offering his expert support to the public hospital for the past three years. Also three nurses, a Social Worker and a Clerk are also attached to the Unit.
Even as she emphasized the importance of each staff member in the Unit, Dr. D’Aguiar underscored the monumental role of the Social Worker.
“Cancer is something very devastating for most patients, and not just patients, but their relatives as well. It is an untold emotional [state] that they go through, and so we need a Social Worker to work with these patients and their relatives as well, on a day to day basis, to help them along, because it is not exactly an easy process,” related Dr. D’Aguiar.
She underscored that while the work of both doctors and nurses in the department is important, the Social Worker is very instrumental. In fact, it was disclosed yesterday that in addition to providing psychological support, the Social Worker is tasked with working along with patients to ensure that they are able to receive the relevant services that will help improve their health.
This therefore means, Dr. D’Aguiar said, that the Social Worker advocates on behalf of patients who are cash-strapped for financial support from the Public Health Ministry.
Among the range of cancer treatment offered at the Oncology Unit is chemotherapy. However, Dr. D’Aguiar disclosed that currently the hospital does not offer radiotherapy and CT Scan services to patients. However, Dr. Delisle said that the Unit has a close working relationship with the Cancer Institute of Guyana. Although it is also accommodated in the compound of the hospital, a few steps away from the proposed building that is expected to shortly house the Oncology Unit, the Institute is a Non-for-profit organisation.
According to Director of Outreach, Dr. Syed Ghazi, while the Institute is one that offers various cancer treatment services to the population, there are costs attached in order to ensure the sustainability of the operation. It is however expected that with its expansion, the Oncology Unit will become more self-sufficient.
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