PROJECTED GUYANA MEDICAL CENTER
RECOMMENDATIONS TO RE-ENGINEER GUYANA’S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Author: Dr. Husman Khan
Guyana’s healthcare model is primarily a free care system funded by the government from tax revenues. It consists of a system of outpatient clinics, staffed by primary care and family physicians and regional secondary and tertiary care hospitals.
REQUIREMENTS TO DRASTICALLY IMPROVE GUYANA’S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
1: Attracting more highly trained physicians on a full or part time basis as consultants to advise and also to supervise the day to day running of the existing facilities. There are many well intentioned Guyanese abroad who will be willing to return if this can be facilitated by the government.
2: The nursing services are grossly deficient and suffer from an extreme lack of morale and clinical training. The improvement of this workforce will be an extremely important ingredient in improving the overall health outcomes.
3: PATHLOGY SERVICES:
- There is need to improve the pathology services as a whole and to make them more readily available to make timely diagnoses.
4: BRAIN DRAIN OF HEALTHCARE TEACHERS:
- The steady and continuous brain drain from a country has resulted in a paucity of trained teachers in every aspect of health education.
5: PREVENTATIVE SERVICES:
- Robust diabetic education program to reach the masses via diabetic health educators.
- Hypertension education emphasizing its dangerous complications.
- Road traffic accident prevention.
- Complications of chronic alcohol abuse.
- Prevention of Domestic violence & its consequences.
- Improving maternity care and preventing obstetric complications and infant mortality.
- Preventative measures encompassing all the common infectious diseases in the country including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, filaria, leptospirosis, HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea amongst others.
6: SECONDARY AND TERTIARY HOSPITALS:
- There is a need for improved coordination between these facilities and the primary care centers as well as education to improve the public’s perception about the quality and level of care delivered at each level is needed.
7: INTENSIVE CARE UNITS (ICU):
- Patients typically spend one to four days in these units. These are critical days in evaluating and stabilizing seriously ill patients. Typical admissions to such an ICU may include: Gram negative sepsis, post-operative care, trauma (head trauma to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved in motor vehicle accidents), septic abortion and peripartum hemorrhage, accidental or intentional (suicide) organophosphate poisoning. The initial investment in establishing an ICU may seem exorbitant but can be justified to save lives in a country with population of less than one million.
8: IMPROVING ONCOLOGY (CANCER) CARE
- In a country where oncology and comprehensive cancer care is sadly deficient, there is a need to develop a more comprehensive palliative care and hospice program.
9: TRAINING AND RETENTION OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS:
- This has been a continuous and difficult problem but it can be solved if the government can create a center for healthcare education and development which can attract teachers from abroad in an organized fashion with a curriculum that is geared towards the specific needs of the Guyanese healthcare system.
10: PUBLIC + PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS
- The government needs to partner with private healthcare providers to provide services that are already existing in the community; eg. Hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, (large burden of acute and chronic kidney disease existing at the present time).
11: BURN UNIT
- Establishment of a burns unit to drastically improve survival rates and better recovery outcomes.
12: CREATION OF EYECARE UNIT:
- Creation of a coronary care unit to complement the existing cardiac catherization laboratory at the Georgetown hospital.
13: CREATION OF DENTAL CARE UNIT
Creation of a dental care unit which also educates Guyanese on the benefits of preventative measures for care of teeth and gums.
14: AIR AMBULANCE:
Bringing in severely sick patients from Guyana’s hinterland and countryside has been grossly inefficient. A better managed system with private carriers and the GDF will improve survival rates. Every Guyanese deserves the best care.
15: HOSPITAL AND CLINIC FACILITIES:
New and well maintained healthcare facilities must be built and staffed. The hospital administrators must have access to a computerized system to ensure all medicines and medical equipment are available to treat patients. Cleanliness and good housekeeping have been lagging in Guyana’s healthcare system and these must be addressed.
16: COMPHRENSIVE PLAN TO ATTRACT HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS FROM GUYANA’S DIASPORA
Many healthcare professionals in the Guyana Diaspora are eager to return home if there is comprehensive government plan to attract these skilled professionals. Guyana does not have skilled healthcare professionals to re-engineer the healthcare system. It is imperative these professionals are issued contracts by the Government to completely overhaul and fix Guyana’s healthcare system -working in tandem with local healthcare personnel .