Health Ministry to introduce ‘telemedicine’ programme next year

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The Guyana Government is looking to roll out a programme which allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients in remote areas using telecommunications technology.

A statement from the Ministry of Public Health said this comment was made by Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence during a meeting with the new Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee.

The Ministry explained that Telemedicine, also called ‘e-health’ or ‘telehealth’ removes the need for face-to-face meetings with doctors or nurses.

Lawrence was quoted as saying that when this programme is launched it will cut dependency on the current Medivac services for interior residents. This was communicated to the Canadian High Commissioner who promised to “look into this more to see if there are opportunities”.

Finance and Telecommunications Ministries are firmly behind the distance medicine novelty which will target Regions 1 (Barima/Waini); 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne); 7 (Cuyuni/Mazaruni); 8 (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).

The Canadian envoy, according to the Ministry said for her, public health is “very important” and she is excited to team up with Minister Lawrence.

“I am at the disposal of my government and yours”, Chatterjee said assuring that her tenure here will continue “our good relations with the government of Guyana,” Chatterjee was quoted as saying.

The Public Health Minister told the Canadian Diplomat that Maternal and Child Health (MCH) weighs heavily on her agenda and she wants a follow-up meeting to brief her on ongoing initiatives in the sub-sector.

Nevertheless Lawrence used the opportunity to gave Chatterjee a panoramic sweep of ongoing MCH initiatives in Regions 1 (Barima /Waini); Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni); Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo) targeting the country’s indigenous populations who are currently being trained as Community Health Workers (CHWs) to ensure there are well-trained personnel in all villages to help monitor and evaluate pregnant women.

She said delays in seeking help, sloth in arriving for help and further holdups in receiving appropriate emergency care conspire to cause the deaths of Guyanese pregnant women.

Guyana’s maternal mortality ration currently stands at 121/100,000 while the infant mortality ratio stands at 23/1,000 Dr. Hamilton said referring to a recent MOPH Annual Report by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Shamdeo Persaud.

The current MCH initiatives have been backed by Canada, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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