$34M infectious disease centre commissioned in Lethem

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips

“It is important that we invest, in a holistic manner, in the development of your region, just as we are doing in other regions of Guyana. As we plan to build out the health infrastructure in Region Nine, we decided that we must have an infectious disease centre. This is just part of a plan to develop the health facilities and the delivery of health care here, ” he noted.

The Prime Minister said the need for a facility of this kind in the region was highlighted during the COVID-19 period, when close supervision of border communities was necessary to contain the spread of the disease.

“We share a border with a country that was most affected by COVID-19. We had to close the border. All of this occurred during a time when we had no infectious disease centre. I think we have learned from that experience,” the prime minister explained.

Importantly, he noted that as these new facilities are opened, it remains critical that people are trained to manage them.

“We can’t have new facilities and equipment if we do not also spend money on you – persons to keep things running, to make things operational,” he underscored.

To this end, the pharmacy assistant and nursing assistant courses are expected to begin shortly in the region, to upskill persons and equip them with the qualifications to work in the new and upgraded facilities.

“These are all aimed at educating the people who live and work in Region Nine to be the ones to manage the health facility in the region, to lead the development of health in the region,” he added.

Government has taken a rigorous approach to upskilling persons in the hinterland communities to be employed in the health centres there, as opposed to outsourcing trained personnel from the coastland.

“With our administration we want to be more aggressive on having people here, in the hinterland, trained in all aspects of healthcare. We want to see more doctors being trained here,” PM Phillips explained.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond, said the new centre will help to boost tourism as visitors can rest assured that they will be able to access health services across Guyana.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond

“In a case of someone coming and wondering how fast they can be treated if they get an infection, the fact that there is some place nearby for that helps to boost tourism,” she noted.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud, said that the facility now enables health workers in the region to identify and treat diseases.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud

“It speaks to our government’s policy of expanding healthcare across the country and ensuring there is decentralisation of health services. An infectious centre is timely, as previously, many people would have to come to the hospitals in Region Four to determine what types of infections there were, and how to treat them. Now, with your own centre, you can do this right here. You can also determine new infections,” Minister Persaud said.

She added that the government’s dedication to fostering development in the health sector is further highlighted through the continued training and upskilling of persons to complement the building of health infrastructure. (DPI)