Telepathology programme being developed for Guyana

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Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday announced plans to establish a telepathology programme in Guyana. This programme which is being developed with Mount Sinai Health System allows pathologists to connect with labs and patients all over the world.

Dr Anthony said once it is up and running, it will reduce the time for patients to be diagnosed from months to days.

“One of the big challenges that we have is when we do the fine needle biopsy or when we do any biopsy our pathology labs can sometimes take a long time.

“So just to examine and prepare the slides sometimes can be between six weeks to six months and that is a very long time for somebody to wait to determine whether or not they have a cancerous growth,” Dr Anthony said.

And so, the ministry has been working with Mount Sinai to expedite this process and one of the ways that this can happen is with telepathology.

“We can prepare the slides here in Guyana, we will be able to take high-resolution images of the slide and then the oncologist in other parts of the world will be able to read the slides and then be able to give a diagnosis.

“The turnaround time for diagnosis would improve very quickly,” the health minister related.

Dr Anthony was at the time speaking about making treatment and services for patients diagnosed with any form of cancer more accessible.

He also revealed that they are working with Mount Sinai to develop an oncology centre here to treat all cancer patients.

“We will be able to have better guidelines in place for each of the different types of cancer and to have not just meds available but if people need chemotherapy and radiotherapy all of those interventions will be available.”

Additionally, the ministry also inked a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Atomic Energy Agency to donate three mammogram machines to Guyana.

“We are currently in the process of looking at three of our regional hospitals, identifying the areas where we are going to be putting these mammograms and once, they send the machine we will be able to install it and expand the services to offer more access to mammograms across the country,” Dr Anthony said.

He noted that breast cancer remains the most prevalent cancer in women and contributes to the highest death rate for cancers among women.

“We can change this outcome if we are able to make the diagnosis of breast cancer earlier,” Dr Anthony said noting all of the interventions been put in place to address this.

He further added that the medications for patients will also be more accessible and in constant supply.

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