BUDGET 2021: Health Sector gets $53.5 billion

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The government aims to ‘inject’ the local health sector with a massive $53.5 billion, geared at boosting the local COVID-19 response, but also to enhance all health services available across the country.

Making this announcement was Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, on Friday as he presented the 2021 National Budget in the National Assembly.

The minister noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the health services sector, not only in Guyana but across the world. And according to him, the incumbent government has strived to ‘get ahead’ of the pandemic, by increasing testing and surveillance capacity, support for households and now, the procurement of thousands of vaccines to immunise against the novel coronavirus.

As part of the allocation to the health sector, $1.8 billion is being allocated for the purchasing of critical medical equipment while an additional $322 million has been allocated for the acquisition of medical equipment, including ventilators and anaesthesia equipment. A total of $750 million will also be spent on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.

Additionally, $98 million will be used for reequipping the ophthalmology centre in Port Mourant, Berbice; $35 million will be allocated for the strengthening of the emergency medical services capacity; and $70 million will be spent to deal with the shortage of essential medication for psychiatric patients.

There will be a stronger focus on maternal and child health too with a sum of $240 million to be spent in this area.

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