Jan 27, 2022 News
– six new regional hospitals to be constructed
By Aaliyah Allicock
Kaieteur News – Amid a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths here, the Guyana Government has allocated some $6.8B to respond to the pandemic.
This amount is part of the $73.2 billion budgeted for the health sector. Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh made the announcement when he presented the national estimates on Wednesday.
During his budget presentation, Singh stated that the pandemic continue to demand dedicated attention and as such the COVID-19 response programme this year will rely heavily on masking, physical distancing, ventilation and sanitising requirements, access to COVID-19 vaccines and care and treatment at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH).
In addition to that, he said that his government anticipates operationalising a maternal delivery room, oxygen plant and physiotherapy department, among others, at the COVID-19 Infectious Hospital. He noted that the budgeted allocation provide provision for an additional 260,000 doses of vaccines which would be utilised for booster shots and for persons who are yet be vaccinated.
Only yesterday the country recorded six more Covid-19 deaths pushing the total number of fatalities to 1, 154. Also there have been 58, 196 cases, 424 of which were recorded on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Singh told the National Assembly that in ensuring there is a modern and world class healthcare system in the country, his government intends to leverage in existing and soon to be built public healthcare facilities, private investment, as well as public-private partnerships in the sector, with the aim of not only meeting the needs of the citizens but to be able to offer medical treatment as an export service through medical tourism.
He noted that his government will continue to expand access to health services and facilities and as such a sum of $16.1 billion has been allocated to launch a major expansion in public health care facilities. “Our clear policy mandate is that every health facility across the country must be sufficiently comfortable, functional and equipped with all the basic amenities,” he said.
Of the allocated amount, a total of $12.4 billion has been budgeted for the design and construction of a state-of-the-art paediatric and maternal hospital, upgrading of the West Demerara and Bartica regional hospitals, and the construction of six modern regional hospitals at Anna Regina, Tuschen, Diamond, Enmore, Bath and No. 75 Village, Corentyne.
Dr. Singh explained that with this investment, the regional hospitals are expected to catapult healthcare delivery beyond its current levels by existing regional facilities as well as to reduce the undue cost and burden of referrals to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
In addition, a further $220 million is budgeted to retrofit and equip the Festival City Polyclinic to provide services which will include x-ray, dental, laboratory and rehabilitation services. Additionally, he shared that a sum of $1 billion has been allocated for the upgrading of health centres across all Regions, which would address critical interventions needed to improve patient’s experience.
While announcing the allocation for the expansion of medical facilities, Singh shared that in the 2022 budget a sum of $2 billion will be spent on medical and non-medical equipment. Out of that amount some $359.3 million is earmarked for the GPHC, which will allow for the increased use of laparoscopic surgical techniques, serving to improve surgical outcomes and reduce recovery time and for the introduction of vascular surgery, for the first time. Singh contended that his government anticipates the continued expansion of its Emergency Medical Services programme and with that a further $26 million is budgeted for the purchase of two ambulances.
In addressing the issue of drugs shortages, he related that by 2023 the government intends to eliminate incidences of drug shortages in the country. To this end, a sum of $17.9 billion has been budgeted to procure supplies for the health sector in 2022. “In this regard, Government has mandated urgent reforms in the supply chain management system across the sector including data driven quantification and strengthened procurement systems,” Singh pointed out.
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