All regions to get specialised package of medical services

--As local health authorities identifying services needed to boost primary healthcare

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The Ministry of Health is seeking to expand the essential healthcare services that will be provided at every health institution, be it a hospital or health post, across Guyana and soon, each region will get a specialised package of medical services.

This is according to the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, who addressed the opening ceremony of a workshop on Tuesday at the Marriott Hotel. This workshop was crafted to develop the national package of essential services.

The Health Minister acknowledged that there has been an uneven distribution of health services across the country. Now, however, the local health authorities have drafted 215 different health interventions that should be offered at every health institution.

“This is not a comprehensive list, this is what we feel we need to deliver,” the Health Minister said.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony.

He noted that the workshop, which included key health professionals, will enable the authorities to identify what other gaps in primary health care can be addressed or if there are any excesses to be dealt with.

And he explained, “Moving forward this is going to be the tool that we are using to deliver these services in the ministry.”

The proposed national package of services includes interventions to detect and treat infectious diseases as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancers or diabetes.

But it is not only that a “one size fits all” package of services will be created; Dr. Anthony said that each region will have its own specialised plan too.

“We recognize that in each of the regions, we have different patterns of diseases, mortality patterns might be different.

“Therefore we cannot have a plan that is a ‘one size fits all’ for the country,” the Health Minister explained.

To illustrate the rationale of crafting specialised plans, Dr. Anthony related that in the hinterland regions – Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine and parts of 10 – there is a high prevalence of malaria. And so, he said that health services offered in these regions should focus on malaria testing and treatment.

The distribution of drugs to the various regions will also be dealt with through these plans.

During a recent interview with the News Room, the Health Minister explained that this focus on expanding the healthcare services offered across the country is a key component in strengthening primary healthcare.

This type of healthcare includes health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care- which is used to provide relief to people living with serious illnesses.

By strengthening primary health care, Dr. Anthony posited that those chronic NCDs would be detected in people much sooner; earlier detection would allow for earlier treatment, preventing further or worsening health complications.

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