With Guyana’s only COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) packed to capacity, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony announced that efforts are underway to establish other ICUs at regional health facilities across the country.
During a recent engagement with the press Dr. Anthony, disclosed that regional hospitals have already been assessed to be retrofitted with ICUs that will have the capacity to administer care to patients who develop the severe forms of COVID-19.
“We want to have infectious disease ICUs in each region. We are already looking to get the basic set of equipment,” Dr. Anthony told the press at a virtual meeting on Friday.
He said the aim is to establish those units and have them equipped within a matter of weeks. Meanwhile, the Health Minister revealed that efforts are being made to help GPHC build the capacity of its ICU. Towards this end, he noted, the Government of India made donations of several ventilators.
“We have 12 beds in that unit and we had four ventilators at GPHC. As of two days ago, with the donation from the Government of India, we have been able to rectify that situation and our aim is to have a ventilator at each bed, so now if anyone in that facility has respiratory distress, they will be able to have access to the relevant equipment,” he disclosed.
The Health Minister explained too that the protocol for utilising the ventilators has also changed.
“Before we intubate someone, there are certain clinical guidelines that we follow and a number of other perimeters that are looked at. Once the patient would meet a set of criteria, they would be placed on a ventilator, once one is available. That has now changed because we have more ventilators that are available and, in that sense, those who need a ventilator would be able to get a ventilator,” Dr. Anthony told the media.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the Ministry continues to work assiduously to strengthen the country’s healthcare system. Minister Anthony stated that an analysis has been done on all the regional hospitals and their isolation areas. He further disclosed that an infectious disease unit will be set up at each facility.
“We have come up with a basic set of equipment that each one of these facilities must have and have started the procurement of this equipment,” the Health Minister said.
Dr. Anthony’s announcement about the establishment of regional COVID-19 ICUs comes weeks after the new government condemned the $1.6B Ocean View Hospital, converted from a hotel located at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, as being unfit to house patients battling the disease.
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali had told the press that the hospital will be converted into an isolation centre for up to 150 patients affected by the disease.
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