Gov’t eyes training, equipment to improve healthcare for newborn babies

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Efforts are being made to improve neonatal care, that is care for newborn babies, across Guyana as the government eyes additional training of healthcare workers and much-needed neonatal equipment.

This is according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning, issued after officials from the Health Ministry met with a visiting team from the Giving Health to Kids Organization (GHTK).

It was noted that the government and the organisation established a partnership more than 10 years ago to address the high neonatal mortality in Guyana.

The press release stated that this partnership has resulted in a significant decrease in the death of newborn babies; in fact, the release said that the deaths of newborn babies decreased by half (50 per cent) over the past years.

The GHTK in partnership with the government previously established a level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and Level 1 NICUs at the Linden, New Amsterdam, West Demerara, Suddie and Bartica hospitals.

Additionally, it was related that the organisation worked to establish a Master Degree in Pediatrics and a Diploma and Degree program in neonatal care in partnership with the University of Guyana. These programmes have graduated 22 pediatricians and 70 neonatal nurses to date.

Under the leadership of Dr. Sara Singh, a graduate of the program, and her team, the ministry said that the GPHC has made great strides as it saves hundreds of babies every year that would have otherwise not survived.

But, the ministry said, “… there continues to be gaps in neonatal care in regional hospitals and the hinterland.”

Recently, President of the GHTK Dr. Narendra Singh, Neonatologist Dr. Leif Nelin, local Neonatologist Dr. Anna Florinda-Chin toured the New Amsterdam, West Demerara, Lethem and Bartica Hospitals.

The team subsequently met with the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Narine Singh, and the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo.

And the ministry’s release stated: “The discussions and agreements centered around establishing a sustainable Neonatal Network at all regional hospitals, including the hinterland to ensure the optimal health of all newborns.

“This would involve elevation of neonatal care to higher levels (Level 2/3) to support critically ill babies.”

Importantly, it was stated that the government has committed to a large capital investment to secure vital neonatal equipment along with the training of healthcare providers to care for the most vulnerable of our population.

And, the GHTK will support the training of healthcare providers along with the establishment of the Neonatal Network and a Neonatal Transport Program.

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