– GPHC advises businesses, taxi and bus operators
By Anastacya Peters
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is advising all businesses, bus operators and taxi drivers to stop discriminating against health care workers, in the light of Coronavirus.
Kaieteur News understands that since Guyana has confirmed five cases of the deadly Coronavirus, several nurses and other health care workers, especially those working in the Emergency department at the city hospital, have been faced with harsh intolerance from certain sections of the public.
In a press briefing that was held at the GPHC yesterday, Chelauna Providence, Head of Strategic Planning and Communications, stated that doctors and nurses working at the hospital have been lodging reports to the complaints departments about the discrimination they are facing when trying to access transportation or even when shopping.
“Nurses and doctors are complaining that taxi drivers are refusing to pick them up, and even when they enter supermarkets clad in their uniforms, they are asked to leave and that is unfair. We basically want to let the public know that nurses especially are front line workers when it comes to responding to Covid-19, and even though we have not reached a state in Guyana where the health system is overwhelmed, our nurses and our doctors are routinely preparing for any possible situation in Guyana,” Ms. Providence stated.
Ms. Providence urged persons to extend courtesies to, and be considerate of all health care workers in face of Covid-19.
“When it comes to Covid-19, the threat is basically towards everyone, so we are asking that persons take the necessary precautions to avoid contacting the virus. This is a new virus and our medical personnel here are looking at measures being put in place by other countries in order to combat the deadly virus locally, treat them with the respect they deserve.”
At the press briefing, Nurse Babb and Nurse Anthony, who work in the emergency department, stated that since that since Guyana confirmed its first cases, they are being embarrassed and scorned by members of the public when trying to enter public transportation.
Sharing her experience, Nurse Babb stated that on several occasions she has been barred from entering minibuses and supermarkets while wearing her uniform.
“I have been discriminated against some many times as a health care worker. Persons are saying that because we choose this line of career we should not be complaining, but I am saying that the discrimination being thrown at medical personnel is wrong, because when an individual gets sick they still have to come to the hospital to seek medical attention,” Miss Babb explained.
In his speech, Nurse Anthony stated that in order to combat the discrimination being leveled against him, he is now carrying to work with him a change of clothes that he would normally wear when his shift is over.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GPHC retired Brigadier George Lewis noted with concern and consternation the recent circulation of a voice recording which purports to disclose that two COVID-19 positive patients escaped from the institution.
Mr. Lewis stated that internal investigations into the issue have confirmed that the recording and its contents did not originate from any doctor or any employee of GPHC.
In Guyana there are only five confirmed cases of Covid-19 and the only authorized institution with the capacity for testing is the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
“We know that it can be difficult to decipher factual information from fabrications. Further, our ability to access and utilize accurate information at this time can significantly impact the course of this national and global health crisis”.
In a statement, Mr. Lewis denounced “this mischievous act that can not only jeopardize the reputation of the city hospital, but insights unwarranted panic and skepticism in a time of national and global vulnerability. We urge the general public to inform their actions based on trustworthy information from reputable sources such as the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) Guyana, the Pan- American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC)”.
The CEO concluded his statement by saying that “Nevertheless, the GPHC continues to work assiduously to contribute to national efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, I implore each of you to do your part to end this pandemic; practice regular hand washing, observe social distancing, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and stay at home.
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