Residents of Wakapoa, in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), suspect that there is a typhoid outbreak in the community, where the absence of medical professionals and drugs at the community health centre have become the norm.
At least eight persons from the village have been reported as having typhoid.
A resident, Samantha Thomas, sought to highlight the plight of those in her village in a recent Facebook post by calling on those in authority to look into the matter. “Hello my friends, with a feeling of anxiety and frustration I reach out to you this evening to ask if anyone can refer me to the relevant authorities for help for the folks of Wakapoa. Presently, there seems to be an outbreak of typhoid in my community! With six persons from my family already sick and in need of treatment!! There’s no doctor or medex at our health centre and it is apparent we do not have any treatment here right now… Four members in my family [are] presently at Suddie Hospital talking treatment… But it is very expensive to travel to that hospital and the required tests are also expensive,” Thomas wrote, while asking for assistance to notify the Public Health Minister and other organisations that could help the community.
Earl Thomas, another resident, told Stabroek News that of the estimated eight residents, at least four of them are children and they would have had to seek treatment outside of the community.
“We had some patients who went out and were confirmed to have typhoid and we have had children who were taken out for dysentery… one of my brothers was also taken out to the hospital for dysentery as well. There are a lot of persons who are affected,” he said.
Asked when the suspected outbreak began, Thomas explained that residents have been experiencing bouts of typhoid since late last year and have been forced to seek treatment outside of the village because of the lack of medication and healthcare professionals. “We have a health centre with no drugs, no medex and no doctor…we only have a health worker who visits from time to time. But it’s not just typhoid, it’s malaria as well, simple things like testing we cannot do here in the village,” he added.
Stabroek News was told that residents would either have to hire a boat at a cost of $40,000 or hope for a vacant seat on a passenger boat, at cost of $3,000, in order to travel to Charity and Suddie to receive treatment.
Additionally, Thomas stated that in the case of women who face high risk pregnancies and other conditions, they would have to travel all the way to the Suddie Hospital for treatment. While out there, he noted, the patients would often have to stay at the Amerindian Hostel for as long as a month just so they can receive continuous treatment.
“Persons would have to travel all the way to Charity, which is 35 miles away from the village, to get treatment and that in itself is expensive because you have to go by boat… a lot of persons have complained but nothing has been done; we hardly have any health officials visiting us here, it really feels as though there is a lack of concern on the part of officials,” he added.
Meanwhile, Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, in an invited commented, noted that while he has not received any reports of an outbreak, he will make enquiries at the Regional Democratic Council’s meeting.
Commenting on the issue of the absence of a doctor at the Wakapoa Health Centre, Ramdatt said though several recommendations were made to the Regional Executive Officer (REO) to have medical personnel stationed there, the recommendations are yet to be implemented.
Several attempts were made to contact Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud as well as the Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence for a comment on the issue, however, these were unsuccessful.