We don’t need a specialty hospital; we need better health services

Dear Editor,

There is much talk in the air from the PPP/C government of the importance of having a specialty hospital in Guyana. Those in the government will use this specialty hospital for medical tourism and will have state-of-the-art health care available for all, but they are failing to tell Guyanese that they will have to pay for the services that will be provided to them even though all taxpayers will be paying for the building of this hospital.

Editor, why would we in Guyana need such a specialty hospital when our local hospitals cannot even provide suitable and proper health care services to our people?

In Region 5 over the past weeks there have been very many cases where residents, both adults and children, have been thought to be suffering from the chikungunya virus. Many adults and children cry out for pain, some can hardly walk, eat or talk, and they must sit for long hours waiting to be seen by a doctor at Fort Wellington hospital.

Over the past several days I had the opportunity of visiting that facility, not as a patient, but accompanying a few persons who were thought to have the said virus. But something struck me about what is taking place here in this region given all the high praise from the Health Ministry, Health Minister and Regional Administration as to the availability of better health care and services for the residents.

There are serious problems in this region’s health institutions, and I lay the blame solely at the feet of the administrations of both the health ministry and the region. Imagine that we have a Regional Health Committee and Regional Health Officer who both appear to be non-functional at this time when there is an outbreak of this virus. During the day (Monday to Friday) sometimes there are just two to three doctors working, and these doctors have to attend to a very large number of patients at the outpatient’s clinic, run the wards and also look after emergency cases. When there is an emergency those who have queued up for hours have to wait longer to be attended to.

After getting to see the doctor, the patients then have to endure another long wait for their medication from the pharmacy, which by the way operates very, very slowly and mostly cannot hold all those who are seeking treatment. So this means that sick patients have to stand up in the sun outside the pharmacy door, and even after the long wait when they get to the counter to collect the medication prescribed by the doctor they often hear that the pharmacy does not have tablets such as panadol, ibuprofen, etc. So after they have waited for hours to collect about four kinds of tablets they then have to go home empty handed.

Editor, this virus seems like an epidemic in Guyana, and yet over the last weekend there was only one doctor working per day on duty at the hospital and two to three nurses for eight hours, especially at night. There is no ambulance driver on site if there is an emergency case at night or over the weekend. The worst thing about it is that the patients were told that they would have to return on Monday morning to collect their medication because the pharmacy is closed and the medication given to the nurses for the weekend finished in just an hour, and this was Friday evening. The government is calling itself the caring government and cannot provide basic medical care for the people of this land.

This is a shameless government; people are suffering every day for better health care and yet those in authority don’t care. On behalf of the AFC RMC of Region 5 I am calling for a full complement of doctors on a 24-hour basis. Easy access should be put in place for medication to be dispensed to patients from the pharmacy. There should be more nurses on shift and a full complement of ambulance drivers at night. We are asking that the Ministry of Health, the Regional Health Officer and the Regional Administration of Region 5 make public how many persons have been treated over the past two weeks for the chikungunya virus.

We don’t need a specialty hospital, we need more qualified doctors, nurses, better health facilities, more medical outreaches, better services and a better Ministry of Health, and regional administrators who cater and care for the people of this region and Guyana at large.

I call on the people of this region to stand up for their rights and demand better treatment from this government, because at the end of the day it is our tax dollars which are paying them and we must demand better treatment and services.


Yours faithfully,
Abel Seetaram
AFC RMC Region 5

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