Residents of Region Three can now access Tuberculosis (TB) treatment without having to travel to Georgetown, GINA said.
A Chest Clinic and a refurbished Step-Down Care Facility was commissioned on Thursday at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH).
GINA said that the chest clinic which will operate from Mondays to Fridays would allow Region Three residents to access treatment for TB in their own Region rather than them having to travel to the city or wait for a monthly doctor’s visit to the region.
GINA added that the clinic offers TB testing and DOTS treatment for patients co-infected with HIV and TB. It also provides larger rooms.
The Step-Down Care Facility serves as an in-patient unit for persons with serious cases of TB that may require greater attention.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, GINA said that National Tuberculosis Programme Manager, Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall stated that the Step-Down Care Facility will benefit all sections of the population, including the homeless.
“Those TB patients like the less fortunate and complicated cases like drug resistant TB, can be managed in the isolation units until they are non-infectious,” he said.
Dr. Mohanlall expressed gratitude to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for refurbishing the building which now houses the Step-Down Care Facility.
This facility will be equipped even further with a machine that “can identify TB in about two hours along with a four- wheel drive vehicle”, he disclosed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Health Dr. George Norton noted that for generations, TB has manifested itself as a major public health threat.
The Minister added that while TB is on the decline in Guyana, there is no room for complacency.
GINA said that in stressing the need for more regional input into the programme, Norton said “There is a dire need to establish Regional TB programmes and for them to take ownership of TB control activities in their respective regions.
The process has started but more needs to be done in terms of improving coordination and boosting communication with the key stakeholders.”
There are plans for the construction of a similar model at the Leonora Cottage hospital along with the setting up of mobile teams to visit the Essequibo Islands of Wakenaam and Leguan, GINA stated.
Region Three now has the second highest TB rate in the country, GINA said. Statistics show that at the end of 2015, the Region moved from the fifth spot to second, while Region 10, which was the Region with the second highest rate for several years has now fallen to 5th.