Guyana hopes to up fight against chronic diseases, increase life expectancy
Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases have been among the leading causes of death in Guyana for years.
With plans to modernise the local health sector, making healthcare more accessible to people, however, the government hopes to up the fight against diseases and in turn, increase the local life expectancy.
This was made clear by government officials on Friday, at an event held in observance of Caribbean Wellness Week 2022 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre at Liliendaal, Georgetown.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony told the gathering that the life expectancy in Guyana hovers just below 70 years. He also pointed out that a 2017 study found that about three-quarters of all the deaths in Guyana were caused by NCDs.
Despite these bleak statistics, he was optimistic that interventions rolled out by the local health authorities would aid improve population health. Those interventions include taking the necessary vaccinations, engaging in regular check-ups and adhering to drug regimens (if needed).
“There are things that are possible for us to do (because) we have the techniques, we have the methods,” the Health Minister posited.
He also said that the basic activities of eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep significantly aid people’s health. Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking were also suggestions for better health.
It was Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips who said that the government hopes to improve the country’s life expectancy, signalling that the population is generally healthier, by modernising the health sector and simultaneously improving people’s access to healthcare.
He pointed to several ongoing initiatives which promise to do just that. Those include the upgrades to various hospitals, the establishment of six new regional hospitals and treatment centres countrywide and facilitating a robust telemedicine programme.
“But that is only half of the equation.
“We must encourage our people to embrace a healthy lifestyle by adopting healthy eating patterns, avoiding toxic patterns like alcohol and smoking, get more sleep, and schedule annual health checkups,” the Prime Minister said.