Guyana to restart pediatric cardiac surgeries with 130 children on waitlist

-      design for new Children Hospital this year  

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By Kurt Campbell

With some 130 children currently on a waitlist for pediatric cardiac surgeries, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, has assured that those surgeries will restart locally this year.

Once it recommences, some 20 children are expected to be attended to before the end of the year at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

“We had it a couple of years ago with a team of overseas doctors who would come in once a year and work along with local staff… we built capacity and did some surgeries but it was stopped which led to a backlog in cases,” the Health Minister said.

Dr Anthony said it was unfortunate that the programme was brought to an end, forcing children to seek this type of medical service overseas at relatively high prices; ranging between US$30,000 to US$50,000.

“With this, we can really prevent children from dying… over the years, we worked with great doctors to put this programme together and it is sad to see that the programme was dismantled. So, we are now putting it back together because we see the benefits this can bring to the children,” the Health Minister explained.

Dr Anthony said after the programme ended in Guyana, it led to the current backlog in cases. Four children were sent to Cuba in the last two years to do the surgery, while one child was sent to the United State of America.

The minister, who was speaking during his daily update on Friday, said as it is envisioned currently, patients will not have to pay for this medical service when it is reintroduced. He noted that the team, which agreed to return, will have to do an appraisal of the equipment currently here. Once that is done, a team of specialists will then arrive to do the surgeries.

“We have to work to see how can make sure every child gets this type of surgery right here at the GPHC. The Health Minister said it is important that these surgeries are done in a timely manner because the complications can worsen once the children get older.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister said the government is looking to complete the design for a new maternal and children hospital this year.

“We are in discussions with our bilateral partners to develop this facility and when it is fully developed, the specialised programmes would become part of the services offered… this will ensure children at the GPHC migrate to the specialised hospital.”

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