President Dr Irfaan Ali said that his Government will be launching a four-pronged aggressive healthcare plan targeting vulnerable persons and providing speciality care.
This, the President said, will be supported by a number of State investments as well as collaborations with the private sector, which includes the development of a Centre of Excellence for cancer treatment.
President Ali made the pronouncement as he delivered the keynote address at the Guyana Cancer Society’s inaugural fundraising dinner at Project Dawn in Liliendaal on Saturday Night.
“I’m launching a campaign in four areas very soon…and we’re going to go hard, we are going to go wide. I intend to shake things up a bit.”
The President said the target areas will be persons with disabilities, mental illnesses, women and children and speciality care.
On Friday, he announced that every child living with a disability would receive a cash grant of $100,000 this year, while he also highlighted other measures to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
At the fundraising event, the President noted that there needs to be a more holistic approach to tackling health issues in Guyana.
He said that Guyana has “a serious mental health issue” that must be addressed and that it must be closely linked to primary healthcare.
For women and children, President Ali said that a state-of-the-art maternal and children’s hospital will be built with a capacity of 250 beds.
CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE
The President said that the Government will also tackle speciality care. He said that since assuming office, the Government has been analysing different areas of speciality care whether it’s in cardiac services or dialysis and others.
Currently, President Ali said, the Government is working with renowned New York-based Mount Sinai Health System to incorporate the private sector into developing a “global Centre of Excellence” for cancer treatment.
“That is what we are working with the private sector. And that will be part of this three-year agreement. You will have here in Guyana, the Centre of Excellence for cancer care, Centre of Excellence for maternal health and children, and then we will build up our support for all the specialised care that is needed, for example, cardiac care.”
The President said that while the Government will support the private sector in providing and developing speciality care, they will also need to have some “balancing” as it relates to cost.
REVAMPING THE SYSTEM
The Head of State added that the primary healthcare system must be revamped. He noted that the Government is also working with Mount Sinai to address this.
“I’m saying that we have to fix this primary healthcare system. We have to ensure that we get the new generation of people to understand what they have to change that we did wrong. To do this, it requires the education system to get involved. It requires the curriculum in schools to change to reflect the new forms of thinking and the new approach— different approaches that are needed in confronting this challenge.”
The President added that the Government cannot and must not believe it can be the solution for every aspect of healthcare. He said that the administration however has a fundamental responsibility for primary healthcare and in “ensuring that every single citizen has access to good, affordable, first-class, primary health care and that is the first agenda of the new health care system”.
SHARED APPROACH AND RESPONSIBILITY
He also noted that although the Government will do all that it can to advance the country’s healthcare systems, it has to be done through a shared and joint approach where every stakeholder assumes responsibility.
“We have to take shared responsibility, shared risk, and we have to be able to create a multi-stakeholder approach to fixing this problem. The private sector, the doctors, those who are affected, the families of those who are affected and young people”.
At the event, the President also donated money to the organisation and proposed to “create an annual support mechanism”.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the people of this country, for the work that you were doing and rest assured you have a partner in myself and the Government.”