– during visit to East La Penitence Health Centre
The Director of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Dr. Carissa Etienne concluded the agenda of her two day visit to Guyana with a visit to the East LaPenitence Health Centre.
The Director was accompanied by the Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence, Permanent Secretary Trevor Thomas, Regional Health Services Director Dr. Kay Shako among other health officials.
The Director praised the Doctors, Nurses and other Health Workers attached to the facility for the great work output that has been recorded and presented. She explained that the level of care provided at the (community) health centre is the most important level of health care provided within the health system.
Dr. Etienne, though pleased with services offered at the facility, pointed to the need for Community outreaches within the health centre’s catchment area. “I think it’s so important that you also have an outreach, that you just don’t sit in the health centre and allow people to come but you actively organise yourself to go out into your communities and to get to see what are the conditions of the home, the environmental conditions that people live with and that you are able to deliver education promotion and to give them advice in their homes and other fields.”
The director also highlighted that health centres are key to providing the most effective level of health care which reduces the chances of a patient having to seek medical attention at a district or regional hospital.
Dr. Etienne added, “I am very interested in the strengthening of health systems, in ensuring that health care comes to every person in your community and if you ask me this is the most important component of health services, in general the facilities that deliver not just curative care but very important health promotion and health prevention to the people. It is clear that many of the principles of primary health care are well established here.”
According to a GINA report, the main catchment areas of the East La Penitence health centre include health care services to the East La Penitence, North East La Penitence, West La Penitence, East Ruimveldt and Castello Housing scheme areas. The health centre also provides a range of services which include, accommodating outpatients, pediatrics, adolescents, ante natals, chronic diseases patients, teenaged ante natal mothers, family planning and post natal (admission of new born babies and mothers).
During the visit Dr. Etienne also made note of the fact that the pharmacy was well stocked with all the basic and necessary drugs and medical supplies. She added that “very soon the ministry will put in a process whereby your stock can be computerised that you will have established levels, where you would have order levels and where you can trace where your supplies are going to.”