A drastic drop in neonatal mortality was realised within a year at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] following the implementation of a hand-washing protocol.
This is according to Dr. Narenda Singh, President of the Guyana Help the Kids [GHTK] Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation [NGO].
GHTK is a registered Canadian Charity which was established 10 years ago by Dr. Singh.
Dr. Singh, through his foundation has been lending immense support to the neonatal unit of the GPHC over the years.
As part of this support he said, “The first thing we did was to implement a hand-washing protocol and within a year we looked at the data. The neonatal mortality had dropped by 40 percent with that singular move.”
As part of the supportive tactic was the introduction of a number of programmes to immediately decrease the neonatal mortality rate. A number of programmes that were set in motion, according to Dr. Singh, were aimed at enhancing the care provided to neonates that would continue to be relevant long in the future.
In fact, he revealed that another measure employed by the Foundation was to collaborate with the hospital’s Institute of Health Sciences Education [which was formerly headed by Dr. Madan Rambarran] and the University of Guyana [UG] to establish the Paediatric Post Residency Programme.
“We developed what I believe was a model partnership for an NGO to work with the Ministry of Public Health, the GPHC and UG. We also established, with the help of the Pan American Health Organisation [PAHO] and nationwide children’s hospital, a neonatal nursing training programme,” Dr. Singh disclosed.
To date these programmes have graduated 11 outstanding paediatricians and 70 neonatal intensive care nurses who, according to Dr. Singh, have been spreading their wings throughout the country.
“I think for me and for us as an organisation, one of the most gratifying things is that these programmes are almost self sustaining. I hardly come to Guyana now and teach anymore; I cannot teach these people anything anymore [because] they know so much.
“And not only that, I must congratulate them for really stepping up to the plate and taking a leadership role and taking ownership. They have been taking the programme to the next level,” said Dr. Singh of the trained professionals at the GPHC.
Over the years GHTK Foundation has also given some support to the hospital’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology programme. The Foundation had donated a number of foetal monitors to ensure that during that the critical period of delivery that “we don’t lose track of the baby because that is clearly one of the most precarious times in birth.”
“Those foetal monitors, I believe, have saved lives and will continue to save lives in the future,” said Dr. Singh. “We didn’t stop just here at the GPHC, we engaged the Ministry of Public Health, we engaged the regional health sector and we worked out with them to complete five other Neonatal Intensive Care Units [NICUs] throughout the country.”
This move was especially tactical, Dr. Singh said because “one of the things that we knew was that 85 percent of all of the deliveries occur at six hospitals and to this end we built NICUs throughout the country which I think is a model partnership with the health sector here in Guyana.”
Recently, too, the Foundation responded to an emergency need of the public health sector for five neonatal ventilators. Added to this Singh said that there is a shipment of 10 new incubators that are slated to arrive shortly that will benefit the NICUs.
“So we continue to work and I must say that the reception that we get as an organisation has been very positive and we want to continue to give and we want to continue to work with the health sector here in Guyana,” said Dr. Singh.
He emphasised that “saving babies is not just at the time of the delivery, it is before conception with good family planning, it is the time of conception, it is during the prenatal period, it is during the neonatal period and I believe a facility like this goes a long way in addressing that continuum of care,” said Dr. Singh.
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