Executive Director of EPA, Dr Vincent AdamsAlthough air pollution is a “major concern” for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which falls under the Natural Resources Ministry, the Department is not equipped with the necessary tools to test air quality owing to the lack of finances.In an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, EPA Executive Director, Dr Vincent Adams complained that the body was unable to function at its full potential, as funding for critical aspects such as capacity building was unavailable.Speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day, which focuses on air pollution this year, Dr Adams stated: “We are looking at some statistics and the air pollution, I think, it says nine out of ten persons in the entire world is somehow exposed to air pollution. I think one out of every eight deaths occurs from air pollution directly or indirectly.”But although this is the case, he admitted, the EPA cannot test air quality. “So it’s a major concern and the problem is we do not see what’s in the air; it’s there, but we are not aware of it and that’s why the EPA is so important, because we are supposed to be equipped, even though you can’t see it, it’s to understand what’s out there and to mitigate against any health defects that come to the public,” Dr Adams explained.He is hoping that the Government considers the Agency in its next budget.“In my budget that I am going to be proposing for 2020, we are going to be proposing all of that, all of the requirements in the upcoming budget, but this here is really important and as a matter of fact, we have been taking it very, very seriously,” the Director assured.In addition, he stressed that the staffers of the EPA required training if they were to carry out their duties in a more effective manner, especially now that the natural resources sector is being broadened with oil production.“We need lots of resources, we need personnel who are trained, but we are not there yet. As a matter of fact, to be very candid or honest with you, we’re not even close to being there, so we’re putting a plan in place and next year’s budget is probably going to be the budget that really identifies all of the gaps,” Dr Adams posited.In the meantime, he said, the EPA has been conducting gap analysis to identify exactly what materials are needed. The Director referenced the fact that Guyana, with its diverse topography, required special vehicles to visit places such as the interior regions where mining was often conducted.He explained, “We have on the books currently over… I think it’s like 1200 permits meaning that we’ve got 1200 operations out there that we have permitted to operate, so we are supposed to oversee these things and not only issue permits but to go out there and monitor and make sure they are in compliance with these permits to protect the environment’s health and safety so we need equipment, we need lots of resources, we need personnel who are trained, but we are not there yet.”The EPA was established by the Environmental Protection Act in 1996. It is tasked with undertaking the necessary measures to manage, conserve, protect, and improve the local environment.It specifically handles matters such as air quality and noise, freshwater, waste, biological resources, land resources, research and development, ecological and human health risk, education, communication and awareness.
Modern Healthcare: High Prices Test Private Equity’s Ability To Close Healthcare Deals Now that healthcare consumerism is replacing traditional retail storefronts with dental and urgent-care clinics, the sector has drawn ravenous interest from private equity. But a new analysis finds some would-be buyers are getting discouraged by increasingly high prices. One in 4 respondents to West Monroe Partners’ recent survey on 100 private equity groups and strategic healthcare buyers said their top challenge in completing healthcare mergers and acquisitions is a shortage of attractive targets. The biggest reason? They were too expensive. (Bannow, 7/11) About 14 million people spent $68 billion on medical tourism in 2016, according to consulting firm PwC. A growing number are Westerners headed to developing countries for cosmetic surgery or dental work, procedures that are less expensive and invasive than major operations and often aren’t covered by insurance. PwC predicts that by 2021 the medical tourism market will reach $125 billion. The growth will be built not on nose jobs and dental implants but on costlier and riskier procedures with longer recovery times, such as knee replacements and heart surgeries. Startups from Berlin to Bangkok are trying to do for medical tourists what Airbnb or Hotels.com does for the general public. Instead of searching for a place to stay, users type in a medical procedure and get a list of clinics or doctors in nations that offer the surgery—scroll and click on a link to make an appointment. (Altstedter, 7/12) When Rob Lazerow, a managing director at the Advisory Board Co., recently met with the executive team of a large health system, he noticed a construction project had been downsized from the prior year. The organization decided to replace its aging facilities with smaller structures, which would potentially allow it to fine-tune its staffing model and reduce its inventory of excess supplies. (Kacik, 7/11) Medical Tourism Is A $68 Billion A Year Industry, And More And More Startups Want In Tech companies are looking to emulate Airbnb or Hotels.com, but for people looking for medical services in a different country. In other industry news: cost control has become a top priority for health system executives, health care acquisitions are proving too expensive for private equity firms, and Amazon wants to nudge even further into the health care landscape. Modern Healthcare: Cost Containment Is A Top Priority Among Health System Executives Bloomberg: Startups Look To Mainstream Medical Tourism Bloomberg: Amazon Has Global Aspirations For Medical-Supplies Marketplace Amazon.com Inc. has global aspirations for its medical-supplies marketplace, according to a job listing posted on its website, highlighting the e-commerce giant’s sweeping ambitions to disrupt health care by selling products to hospitals, doctors and dentists and offering prescription drugs. The world’s biggest online retailer is looking to hire someone to lead outreach to medical-products manufacturers and service providers, who will focus on building the business in the U.S. and then expanding it globally, according to a new job post. Amazon started the Amazon Business marketplace in 2015, with health care among the industries it listed as potential customers — along with factories, offices and universities. The new job posting emphasizes that what works for most businesses isn’t working for medical-industry clients. (Soper, 7/10) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.