Evaluation of health service regulations underway
To assess Guyana’s compliance with regulations in the provision of health care services and provide recommendations where needed, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has commenced an evaluation exercise.
This voluntary external evaluation (VEE) of the International Health Regulations required to provide essential healthcare services in Guyana is the first being done following the legally binding international law that some 196 countries signed on to.
Many countries are yet to undergo the evaluation. However, on Monday, a delegation from PAHO/WHO started the report which will be submitted with recommendations to bridge existing gaps on Friday.
Some 13 core capacities within Guyana, such as national legislation, policy, financing, surveillance response, human resource, zoology, food and safety, disease control, immunization, to name a few, will be analysed by the special team.
The opening ceremony was held at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown. Team leader Dr Marlo Libel said the principle of the evaluation is to measure the national status and progress of the country in acquiring the core capacities for healthcare and make recommendations that will bridge the existing gaps.
Importantly he said that this assessment reflects how these core capacities work in real-time.
“The IHR annual report talks about capacities but capacities without performance measures go only so far. We need to be looking at how it is working in reality, how it is responding and the results. We are very cognizant of the context of where you all are working in the country,” Libel said.
Representatives of many other sectors, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development which work closely with the healthcare sector, were also represented on Monday.
According to the Advisor to the Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy, the country can become the premiere provider of health services to the entire South American region. However, it is necessary that all areas that may need to be improved such as disease control are prioritised. This evaluation can provide much-needed solutions on the way forward, Dr Ramsammy said.
“We are trying to ensure that we fully implement all the core capacities to build health intelligence so that we are better prepared to deal with the existential threats that threaten our country and countries around the world such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance,” Dr Ramsammy said.
He explained that by knowing which areas are on track and which need attention, the country can develop and improve the sector.
Dr Ramsammy said information systems such as the electronic health record, improved laboratories, and advanced technology available at hospitals, are areas that the government is working to implement.
He said the disparity between developing countries and developed countries must be analysed and he noted that the country has achieved massive strides to acquire world-class services.
But the country is still facing a massive deficit as it relates to sequencing for diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for better equipment to conduct virus genome sequencing and according to Dr Ramsammy, this is an area that the country is working to improve.
Overall, Dr. Ramsammy said the government is pushing the needed resources into developing the sector not only in the provision of services and improving the infrastructure but also in developing human resources.