By Utamu BelleMinister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings has urged Lindeners and the rest of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to be appreciative of the efforts of Government in forging towards improved public health services. The call was made at the second public consultation of the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), held at the Egbert Benjamin Centre in Linden on Friday. Dr Cummings said the consultation was timely, stressing the Ministry’s mantra of ‘healthy people, healthy communities’ being enforced. Dr Cummings said it is Government’s national priority, through her Ministry, to deliver the best health services in Guyana with focus on strategic approaches, including accessibility to excellent care and healthcare practices. Minister Cummings stated that the consultation was a timely one as the Ministry strives to embark on a health sector reform in delivering quality healthcare.“The Ministry has began a paradigm shift in the efficient and effective delivery of healthcare… we have a lot of things to put in place… so that we can move smoothly… I must underscore that the Ministry of Public Health focuses strongly on quality management and quality standards with an aim to provide all Guyanese with equitable and acceptable quality healthcare,” she said.CEO’s ReportIn delivering a review of the LHC in 2015 and projections for 2016/2017, LHC Chief Executive Officer, Dr Farouk Riyasat said the Board and management are obligated to at least once a year sensitise communities on available healthcare services. He noted that the LHC, which has a workforce of 630, also comprises sister hospitals: the Upper Demerara Hospital (UDH) at Wismar and the Kwakwani Hospital. Due to increase in demand, the CEO said the general outpatient clinic at LHC was extended from five to seven days per week, while he stressed the need for training and additional staff. He said a proposal has been sent to the Board in looking at daily 24-hour pharmacy service, to include weekends and holidays. This, he said, would require additional staff.As at December 31, 2015, a total of 31,500 patients were seen at the LHC, including 26,000 outpatients and about 5500 inpatients. This year, the CEO said close to 200 units of blood were donated, and a total of 900 surgical operations were conducted. The LHC has a delivery rate of 950 per annum, with 20 per cent being teenage pregnancies and 27 per cent was attributed to caesarian sections and high-risk pregnancies. He added that 140 safe deliveries were conducted at UDH last year and 96 at the Kwakwani Hospital. Additionally, there were six stillbirths and two infant deaths recorded. Overall the hospital recorded zero maternal deaths for five consecutive years. Dr Riyasat stressed that to make meaningful reduction in infant mortality, attention must be paid to warning signs.Issues at Upper Demerara HospitalThe CEO said there is need for more utilisation of the services provided at the UDH. He said although services such as a pharmacy, in-patient and out-patient, antenatal and post-natal clinics, gynecology, rehabilitation, emergency and critical care, among others are offered, people are not utilising services the hospital as they should.“Many persons within the public domain are not utilising the services at UDH and I would like to encourage you to use that service”, he said.The CEO stressed that with regards to the laboratory, there are some limitations with regards to training as well as issues with equipment. He noted that several infrastructural upgrades have been planned, while he urged health professionals to improve their attitudes and relationships with patients. Dr Riyasat also stressed the need for improvement at the level of public relations.ImprovementsRegistering her disappointment, stressing that much more was expected from members of the public with regard to attendance at the forum, LHC Vice Chairman Valerie Sharpe-Patterson stated that the LHC is now in a better place as compared to a few years ago. She said the Board consists of concerned members, who are willing to ensure more efficient and effective service to the region.“Two years ago, we had serious issues with drug shortages, not to say we don’t have, we still do… We had serious issues of doctors being absent, not coming to work regularly and other medical officials which hampered the efficiency of the service we offer to the public. We had issues with emergency ward and we also had issues with staff attitude. These were some of the things we dealt with at the level of the Board and I can see that there has been tremendous improvement in some regards and in others, there is still need for much improvement,” she noted.The Vice Chairman alluded that new services are constantly added to the LHC, while she hailed its zero maternity rate over the few past years. She also expressed her hope of the consultation providing a forum for future improvement at the general staff and management levels.
Come November, a delegation from local businesses who are members of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) will be heading to the oil city of Aberdeen, Scotland in the United Kingdom in a quest to develop business relations in the area of oil and gas.This was announced on Thursday by GCCI President Deodat Indar during a press conference held at the entity’s Waterloo Street, Georgetown head office.The trade mission is expected to begin on November 25 and wind down on November 30. The GCCI intends to have this be the first of many visits to the UK with the same focus.According to Indar, this remarkable initiative will help businesses to spring into other avenues to bring about growth in a feasible manner.“If one company in Guyana had to go up there (to Scotland and) sort out a partner (and) evaluate that partner, it would take a long and hard process and it will cost that company a lot of money and these missions are there to ease out all of that and make that, to some extent, not needed,” he said.The Head of the Private Sector organisation also noted how expectant he was of agreements being signed during that visit to bridge the gap between the countries.GCCI Vice President Nicholas Boyer explained the importance of the trip, noting that the trade mission became a reality after the GCCI engaged the British High Commissioner and the Guyanese embassy in the UK.He went on to highlight that Aberdeen is an impacting city within the oil and gas sector in the UK. The Vice President alluded to the fact that Guyana needed to reach out to other countries who have experience in that sector if the country was to truly flourish from its earnings.It was explained by him that the GCCI intended to have its members connected to the foreigners who were well-schooled in the area and interested in setting up partnerships through the transfer of technology and skills to promote local growth and capacity.Boyer said, “While there, we are going to meet the oil and gas association from the UK, the Energy Industries Council, the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and some other organisations that will allow our members to get connected to their levels and once we build that bridge, it is expected that the UK-Guyana trade will grow.”Meanwhile, British High Commissioner Greg Quinn pointed out that the city has a long history which Guyana can learn from although it, too, has made some mistakes.According to him, “The visit has got several aspects to it and one is to allow us to connect business to business links, not just in the oil industry, but in other areas as education and such like culture. It will allow the educational industry in Aberdeen to reach out to the educational institutions here and it will allow us to build a relationship I hope between the Aberdeen Council and the City Council back here.”Quinn also flagged the importance of the trade mission as it was the first of its kind to the UK, laying the foundation for growth in several areas.ABIS Energy Guyana Limited Managing Director Francis Kiennan endorsed the words of the High Commissioner saying that the UK has over 60 years of experience in the area of oil and gas.The Director added that he hoped the trade mission allowed for the strengthening and renewal of diplomatic and business relations between the countries.So far, more than five companies have signed up for the trade mission, which has no other requirement but for interested businesses to be registered with the GCCI; the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA); the Private Sector Commission (PSC) or other sister agencies.