Health and social welfare key priority areas – President

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There are ongoing efforts to develop Guyana’s healthcare system into one that is world class, according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali.

These efforts include strategic partnerships with the private sector to develop speciality hospitals, specialised care and to attract major international providers; the development of a new Maternity and Paediatric Hospital with strategic partners, and, the resuscitation of the specialist Ophthalmology Hospital in Port Mourant, Berbice.

Efforts are also being made to upgrade the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and all regional hospitals and health centres, as well as hinterland clinics and health huts.

Outside of delivering healthcare, the President also emphasised that social welfare is important to enhance the lives of citizens. As such, a number of initiatives have already been implemented and others will continue to be implemented.

These include: the increase of old age pension has and the restoration of the water subsidy provided to the elderly; the implementation of special programmes for persons living with disabilities, with particular emphasis on training; and ensuring universal primary and secondary education, as well as early childhood education, and continuing work to raise the quality of education provided to our children at all levels.

The President also reminded of the continued emphasis on issues related to gender equality, with a key focus on promoting full female participation in the classroom and the workplace, including by ensuring availability of training places where needed.

He also said that there will be a greater need for attention to be paid to community development, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. As such, the Amerindian village economy in all villages will be strengthened; social spaces and social and cultural activities in all communities with a view to promoting greater cross-cultural awareness and appreciation will be promoted; and, more event-based observances in the national calendar, thereby also promoting greater cross-cultural empathy will be fostered.

Importantly, he revealed that a National Cultural and Creative Industries Policy to guide the development of the sector will be crafted while the Advisory Boards for the National Gallery of Art and the National Archives will be reinstituted.

Furthermore, he highlighted that the existing sports infrastructure will be overhauled, to include the establishment of three new multi-purpose centres to accommodate a wider range of sporting facilities and events. And, all public sports facilities, including the sports grounds in rural and hinterland areas will be upgraded.

Recognising that economic strength is crucial too, he said that focus will be placed on restoring and maintaining a favourable macroeconomic environment to ensure that potential investors are unaffected by either policy unpredictability or weak macroeconomic fundamentals.

Reducing the cost of doing business in Guyana is also a priority, with the availability and cost of energy as a key focus. Providing investment incentives for new investments, retooling, and technological improvements and partnership with the private sector in strategic sectors are also areas that will see greater emphasis placed upon.

Already, he reminded Guyanese that the telecommunication sector has been liberalised, creating new opportunities for fibre optic cables, reducing cost of bandwidth and data so that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) environment will also become competitive.

Work on the implementation of a Single Window Approval System has also commenced to reduce the cost of bureaucracy and red tape.

And, Guyana’s legal and institutional architecture is being revamped to support the development aspirations of a modern Guyana. He said there will be law reform, sector specific reviews of the legal frameworks; and, institutional strengthening.

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