The public health sector is increasingly depending on primary health care to ensure that its services reach a wide cross-section of the population. The ultimate aim is to ensure that primary health care is truly universal.
As part of the efforts to expand primary health care, moves are afoot to ensure that health workers at health centres across the country are able to offer services that are on par with what is offered at the country’s public hospitals.
In order to achieve this, it is expected that medical experts at the level of the hospitals will help to train health workers at health centres.
Among the services that are being expanded in this regard is knowledge sharing to help health workers diagnose and possibly even help to commence treatment for patients who present with symptoms of Parkinson Diseases.
Parkinson disease, commonly referred to as PD, is a neuro-degenerative disorder that affects predominately the dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra, according to medical experts.
Speaking of the training on the cards was Neurology Consultant at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC], Dr. Iliana Lopez. “It is important to train and orientate other staff to be able to diagnose Parkinson Disease,” said Dr. Lopez. She added, “This is one of our proposals to work together with the health centres in order to do early diagnosis and to avoid complications that appear and to arrest the risk factors.”
The situation that obtains currently, she said, is that the health workers at health centres are currently able to refer patients to hospitals if they suspect them to be presenting with the disease.
“We would like to assist as soon as possible. If we provide all the knowledge to orientate the rest of the physicians to do close work between health centres and the hospitals we hope that the incidence [of Parkinson Disease] can decrease,” said Dr. Lopez.
The proposal to expand the ability to diagnose Parkinson disease at the level of the health centres comes even as efforts are being promoted to encourage early screening for the disease.
This is in light of the fact that the majority of cases are almost never diagnosed at an early stage, according to Dr. Lopez, who has regarded this situation as “unfortunate”.
She revealed that it is usually easier to diagnose patients with Parkinson Disease if patients present with early symptoms such as tremors or shaking. “Patients whose early manifestation is the tremor, we can do early diagnosis but if the tremor is not present at first it will present some difficulties,” Dr. Lopez explained. However, through collaboration she is optimistic that the impact of Parkinson Disease could be closely addressed.
As part of its promotion of primary health care, Government has been putting measures in place to ensure that citizens do not travel more than five kilometres in any direction to access comparable health care services.
In fact, it was highlighted not so long ago by President David Granger that it is enshrined in the Guyana’s constitution that all citizens are entitled to free medical attention.
His declaration was forthcoming as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the recent inaugural Health Exposition, which was held at the Sophia Exhibition Site.
During his address, the President announced plans to ensure that all neighbourhoods have in place a health centre designed to ensure that even the poorest of citizens will be able to readily access health care.
But although every citizen is entitled under the constitution to free medical attention, the President asserted that this right is not absolute since every citizen is also obliged to participate in activities to protect his or her own health and by extension the health of the nation.
The Head of State made it clear that Guyana’s health objectives are driven by three priorities including: the provision of universal access to public health; promotion of universal primary health care and emphasis on preventative health care.
“Primary health care is a pillar of the national public health strategy entitled Health Vision 20/20. It is a vehicle for ensuring universal health coverage and is one of the bases for ensuring that the national health agenda is implemented.”
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