Sixty million dollars worth of medical supplies and equipment were presented on Wednesday to Region Six’s Health Services.
At the handing over ceremony at the Regional Health Services compound in New Amsterdam, it was announced that the major part of the gifts, $38 million worth came from Food for the Poor Guyana Inc., while $22 million worth of supplies were handed over to the Regional Administration by the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Six, Kim Williams-Stephens.
Present at the ceremony was the Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence’s Adviser, John Adams, who encouraged the health officials gathered to ensure that the supplies and equipment are taken care of, while informing them that they would be held accountable for the donation.
“They must be used for the purpose for which they were intended too,” Adams said. “These donations were given so you can deliver better health care in the region, it must not go to anybody’s homes. You must not take them home, don’t let it go to anybody’s private pharmacy,” he stressed.
Adams told the medical professionals that once they have the necessary medical supplies, they should make the best use of it for their patients, while adding that it would make their jobs easier. He made a call for every piece of equipment to be inventoried.
The minister’s advisor highlighted that while the Ministry of Public Health has the largest budget, larger than any other ministry in the country, he is happy that, “Food for the Poor can step in to ease the pressures of the Ministry of Public Health.” He also congratulated the Regional Administration for their donation.
Regional Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan, Food for the Poor Focal Point Coordinator,, Alex Foster, Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn Stephens, and representatives from various hospitals and health centres in the region were also present at the ceremony.
Stephens noted that over the past eighteen months that there has been an increase in the number of persons accessing health care in Region Six. He observed that while the number is increasing due to Surinamese, as well as residents of Region Five, accessing Region Six’s health facilities, it also shows that persons are moving away from private health care facilities and are returning to the public health care system.
Stephens thanked Food for the Poor and the Regional Administration for their donations, noting that this shows that the region is putting health care as a priority. “Collaboration is also very important,” he stressed.
He explained that the gifts will be distributed to the three hospitals, twenty-seven health centres in the region, as well as to the B Division Administration and the New Amsterdam Prison Service. He listed some of the donated items which include, baby warmers, incubators, microscopes, ventilators, examination couches, x-ray machines, beds, syringes, an air conditioning unit, water dispensers, paediatric scales, gloves, wheel chairs and over-the-counter drugs.
The Director of Regional Health Services also stated that included in the donation were nine computer systems from the Regional Administration. “Nine computers [donated] today and the region will procure another twelve before the end of 2017, but we need thirteen more, so we are asking Food for the Poor, and some of our other generous donors to come on board and assist us, as we hope to launch in early 2018, the Health In-formation System [HIS].”
According to Stephens, the Health Information System, is a digitized system that Region Six Health Services is planning to launch in early 2018, so as to ensure that all records, charts, etc. are electronic, “and by the press of a button can be made available.”
The Regional Administration also donated four Galaxy J5 phones to the health facilities in Mibicuri, Black Bush Polder; Orealla, Platanca, East Bank Berbice, and Port Mourant, Corentyne.
REO Williams-Stephens stated that the Regional Administration donation shows that the region is standing committed to the fact that health services in the region are important to the administration. She also commended the Food for the Poor organisation for making the larger part of the donation.
Meanwhile, Armogan, noted that there have been several constraints when delivering health care in Region Six. He said that the medical professionals will often times face constraints in the future as well. However, he said, what is important, is that the health system improves gradually and is not stuck at one point.
Focal point coordinator Foster noted that this is not the first donation by Food for the Poor for the year, and there are still several more to come. According to Foster, every six months Food for the Poor will take one health centre under their wings, so as to improve the services offered at the said facility. Cumberland Health Centre for the next six months will operate with the support and guidance from their organization.
The Director of Regional Health Services, Stephens also said that in a few months, a brand new maternity unit will be commissioned in the compound of the New Amsterdam Public Hospital.