Rupununi communities to test new tech-focused health plan


Four small, far-flung communities in Region Nine (Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo) will be part of a Ministry of Health trial to determine how effective ‘telemedicine’ efforts might be, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony said Wednesday night.

Through this telemedicine programme, community health workers will be able to access the expertise of doctors and other professionals in Georgetown through phone, laptops and other electronic devices, hopefully reducing treatment time and saving lives.

“What we want to make sure of is to develop our telemedicine capacity and train community workers there and if they need assistance, connect with doctors in Georgetown for an accurate diagnosis,” Dr. Anthony told a gathering of pharmacists from across the Caribbean.

In so doing, the minister said that emphasis will be placed on guaranteeing that each community health centre has a good internet connection. Satellite technology and various internet-enabled devices that will allow workers to transmit heart and breath sounds and ultrasounds will be instrumental.

In an invited comment, the Health Minister said that Gunn’s Landing, in the Deep South Rupununi, is one of the four communities targeted for the six-month pilot programmes.

Once successful, Dr. Anthony said that this programme will be replicated in communities all across the country, guaranteeing that all patients can readily access the best healthcare.

Why this is necessary, he explained, is because the government is attempting to provide sound healthcare to all people through well-trained personnel and upgraded facilities.

“Sometimes it’s going to be very difficult to put specialised skill sets in each centre,” he, however, conceded.

This focus on telemedicine ties into the government’s plan to transform healthcare in Guyana, the minister said. Through this plan, the local health sector is benefitting from partnership with leading global healthcare providers including Mount Sinai and Columbia University.

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