Health Ministry to soon launch countrywide eye surgeries with portable equipment

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The Ministry of Public Health is seeking to bring eye screening and surgical services to persons in all regions of Guyana.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence along with a high-level team from the ministry met with residents of Good Hope, on the Essequibo Coast. The team specifically addressed the health concerns raised by the residents.

At least three persons questioned the availability of eye screening, diagnosis and treatment services in the region. They also highlighted the challenge of having to travel to Georgetown to access these services when they are not readily available in the region.

Procurement Director, Seewchan, who was part of the team, disclosed that a Portable Ophthalmic Surgery Microscope was procured after being catered for in the 2019 Budget.

He said it was done after the ministry recognised the need for free ophthalmic and optometric services made available countrywide.

“What we have done, in the 2019 Ministry of Public Health’s budget, is to include a portable microscope for cataract surgeries – a specialised surgery. It is a very expensive piece of equipment, the contract would have been awarded and will be delivered; one piece is already in the country, and there is another part because there are two components of this equipment for it to work effectively,” Seewchan explained.

Some of the Good Hope residents at the community meeting [DPI photo]
He said the goal of providing the services is to ensure that those in need have adequate access minus the hassle they would have experienced in previous years.

“Eyecare in Guyana has been improving within some regions, however, we have recognised that there are some shortcomings, but because the Ministry of Public Health is proactive, we are in the process of rolling this out within the shortest possible time,” he added.

This idea stems from work being done in Guyana by an overseas-based medical mission that performed at least two rounds of free eye surgeries for Guyanese at the Port Mourant Hospital in Corentyne.

This spurred the ministry to discuss with local ophthalmologists from Port Mourant, Linden, Suddie and Georgetown Public Hospital, the idea of forming a team which will move across the country to have these services rolled out.

“We are looking to put in place a roving team that can perform cataract surgeries within the various regions.”

While all of this is taking place, Seewchan concluded that “we will be conducting preliminary diagnosis, having the optometrists screen the patients and put them on notice so when the equipment is here, we can immediately conduct these surgeries.”

Residents can, therefore, expect to see advertisements in newspapers and on local television and radio stations informing about the service which will soon be rolled out by the ministry.

Minister Lawrence, who spearheaded the visiting team, outlined that public health is one of those sectors that cannot be neglected, regardless of the status of governance in the nation. It is for this reason that the ministry will forge ahead with plans to have the service of the equipment available throughout the country. (Extracted and modified from Department of Public Information)

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