Guyana is now seen as a hub for medical tourism in the area of kidney transplant since it is the only Caribbean country that offers renal transplant surgery, Administrator of Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital, Dr Madhu Singh said yesterday.
Singh made this declaration at a press conference held at the hospital to mark the completion of 15 renal transplant surgeries that were done by a team of doctors and nurses from overseas since 2008.
Singh said that patients from Antigua and the British Virgin Islands have travelled to Guyana in order to undergo transplant surgery at the hospital.
To date, 15 transplant surgeries have been completed in Guyana, with the first being done at the Georgetown Hospital in 2008. Four of these surgeries were done at the Georgetown Hospital while the 11 others were done at Balwant Singh’s Hospital.
The transplant surgeries are done free of cost but patients are required to pay a small hospital fee. The team of medical experts is headed by Dr Rahul Jindal, who volunteers his services to those in need. The first kidney transplant in Guyana was made possible by overseas-based Guyanese businessman, George Subraj, who provided the financial support then and still continues to do so as the operations continue at Balwant Singh’s Hospital.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Jindal stated that patients no longer have to go to India and the United States for renal transplant because the operation can be done here. He also said that his team comes three to four times per year and when they do, they train the local doctors at the hospital to do follow up treatments for patients. Dr Singh also said that the overseas team no longer has to bring some experts, such as an anaesthesiologist, because local experts have been trained since the programme began.
Meanwhile, Dr Thakor Patel, a specialist in Public Health, stated that some students of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan Secondary School have been trained to carry out diabetes and blood pressure testing, which are contributory factors to renal failure.
These students act as community health workers to help persons know their blood sugar and pressure status in the case that they cannot go to the hospital.
Dr Patel also stated that the programme is an independent initiative and that schools that would like to come on board can contact the Saraswati Vidya Niketan Secondary School for the necessary information.