Health Minister Dr Bheri Ramsaran has credited Japan’s support for helping to reduce the number of newborn deaths at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Speaking yesterday at a closing ceremony for a Japanese project to procure paediatric equipment for the hospital, Ramsaran stated that “good things” were happening in the institution’s paediatric department and the ministry had managed to reduce the neonatal mortality rate because of the procurement of modern equipment by Japan. He said maternal mortality has also been reduced and Guyana was close to achieving the millennium development goal.
Ramsaran added that the ministry had “quietly” set up a neonatal intensive care at the city hospital and has also constructed similar facilities at the Linden and New Amsterdam hospitals.
He said they have taken measures to ensure that the Japanese government’s investment would not go to waste and steps were also taken to train people to maintain the equipment supplied.
“We are recognising that resources are scarce… but we are going to be good partners deserving of more assistance because of the use of these equipment,” he said, adding that the ministry was “fusing the efforts of strategic partners because we cannot do it alone.”
The paediatric department equipment upgrade was funded under the Japan Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Secu-rity Projects (GGP). Through the grant, the hospital was able to improve its services to children and infants as part of the “Project for Equipping the Georgetown Public Hospi-tal Paediatric Ward with Medical Equipment.”
On March 22, 2013, the Japanese Embassy and the hospital signed a Memo-randum of Understanding for US$90,319 to provide the paediatric department with equipment. The embassy procured six paediatric patient monitors, six over bed tables, five paediatric infusion pumps, four paediatric ventilators, three auriscopes and three ophthalmoscopes.
The First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Takaaki Kato, said the Japanese government had actively pursued the procurement of the equipment and “today we can see the fruits of our labour.”
He said he was pleased that the “much-anticipated closing” had finally arrived. He said the Japan GGP was designed to encourage human security in the world by assisting organisations in achieving their objectives, such as improving their medical services.
“This grant has extended support to the activities of the Georgetown Public Hospital, as it seeks to create a modernised paediatric critical care environment that can produce a more effective and efficient service to all patients and their families,” he said, adding that with its completion the hospital is better equipped to achieve its projected objectives in “establishing and equipping the paediatric critical care ward with current technology, equipment and instruments, to reduce hospital stay and cost, in addition to reducing morbidity and mortality rates.”
Kato stated that Japan recognised the importance of paediatrics as it relates to the health needs of communities and the national priorities in the health sector. He said they were very proud to contribute to the improvement of individuals’ lives through the GGP.
“I have no doubt, therefore, that this project truly addresses “basic human needs” and we are very pleased that we can assist the Georgetown Public Hospital in achieving their noble objectives through the GGP,” he added.
Kato also said the ceremony demonstrated the strong bilateral relations between the two countries. He noted that Japan and Guyana have benefited from friendly relations and were actively cooperating in international fora and exchanging and sharing opinions on many important issues.
According to Robbie Rambarran, Director Fin-ancial and General Ser-vices at the hospital, the project was birthed by a Japanese volunteer several years ago.
He said the Paediatric Nursing Educa-tor was attached to the paediatric unit as a volunteer and saw the need for improved equipment to create a “child friendly health care system and environment.”
The project was completed on December 31, 2014.