GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, December 08, 2016
The 2017 Budget has an allocation of $31.2 Billion for the health sector, or 12.5 percent of the total $250 Billion budget.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, in making his presentation to the National Assembly during the National Budget Debates today, said that the Government continues to prioritise the health and well-being of Guyanese, as a pillar of ensuring economic development, happiness, productivity and prosperity.
Minister Norton said the Government has never lost sight of the goal of the health sector strategy, which is to achieve universal coverage for health care, by creating an efficient and modern health system, with adequate human capacity and with high quality health infrastructure.
Dr. Norton said that the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) provides the highest level of care within the Government owned and operated health care system. The sum of $500 million is allocated for capital expenditure for the hospital.
“This hospital has been undergoing a transformation to better meet its mandate. Its capacity for higher quality and complex care has increased significantly in all the major specialties,” Minister Norton said.
The Health Minister said that the GPHC has an expanded programme for cardiac care, including invasive cardiology and open heart surgery, joint replacement and spinal surgeries, renal replacement programme including renal transplant, enhanced oncology, enhanced neonatal and paediatric programmes, along with obstetrics and gynaecology.
As a result, there is increasing pressure and demand for more space and infrastructure resources at this institution, Dr. Norton explained.
He noted that in 2016, $88.7 million was spent on the extension of the maternity block and in 2017, $11.8 million is budgeted as a Retention Project for the project. Minister Norton noted that this block will provide 50 patient beds on two floors.
On the ground floor, there are training rooms, resident doctor and on call rooms, and offices. On the first floor, there are two operating rooms, birthing room area, post – delivery room, a step down unit and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Minister Norton said.
GPHC has demonstrated its motto ‘We Care’, not only for its patients, but also for its staff, especially the nurses. To this end, mobilisation has begun for the construction of a day care centre for the staff of the hospital at a cost of $30 million, Minister Norton told the House.
In an attempt to reduce the annual rental cost for visiting faculty, consultants and medical teams, $25M has been earmarked to commence the rehabilitation of the Waterloo street staff quarters. This facility will provide in excess of 19 self-contained single and duplex apartments.
Additionally, $30M has been allocated towards the rehabilitation of the main operating theatre to improve sterility among other aspects.
To protect significant investment in key equipment, including Cat Scan (CT) scanner, anaesthetic, echocardiography and ultrasound machines, and to ensure a reliable supply of clean and steady power within the main operating theatre, the maternity theatres, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), approximately $85 M has been allocated towards the procurement of four large uninterrupted power supply (between 100KVA-200KVA capacity).
Moreover, an additional $45M has been budgeted for the continued improvement of the diagnostic capabilities (laboratory, pathology and imaging operations) of the GPHC so that patients can be treated in a meticulous and efficient manner.
For medical equipment 63 patient monitors at a cost of $30M will be bought along with seven ventilators for $33M, defibrillators for $15M, thoracic surgery equipment for $37M, digital mammography system $40M, pathology equipment $10M, radiology equipment $10M, ENT equipment $5M, paediatric equipment $6M, neurosurgery equipment $40M and neurology equipment $5M.
In keeping with the Government’s Green Agenda, $4M has been allocated towards replacing all security lights with LED lighting within the hospital’s compound.
Minister Norton explained that efforts will continue to transform GPHC into a state -of -the- art facility. The Minister said that Budget 2017 will cater for the commencement of a computerisation study to assess the needs of the corporation, present the various options of computerisation and make recommendations for cost effective and ‘scalable’ solutions. At the end of this process, GPHC will have a road map to computerise all business/hospital processes and patient records, that is, from the point of initial contact to the completion of treatment at the facility.
Furthermore, $12 million has been allocated for the procurement of a laboratory information system, Minister Norton said.
The Policy Development & Administration programme has been allocated $1.7B. Of that sum, $274.5M is set aside for capital expenditure. Some of the projects that are expected to be undertaken in this programme include the reconstruction of the head office complex of GPHC. Also included in this programme is the construction of a laboratory and administrative building for the Food & Drug Department for $110M. A further $20.7M will be used to procure laboratory supplies, quality control aids and proficiency testing materials. Under this programme as well, a refrigerated delivery truck will be purchased at a cost of $20M for the Materials Management Unit at Diamond.
Regional & Clinical Services
The objective of the Regional & Clinical Services, is to ensure that such services are provided consistently, and adequately, in all the regions. This programme has been allocated a sum of approximately $1B for capital expenditure of which approximately $347M was earmarked for the construction of a drug bond at Kingston, $250M for a furnace at Kwakwani, while $23M will be used for the completion of doctors’ quarters at that same institution, as another ongoing project.
The sum of $15M will be used to purchase a fully equipped ambulance for the Kwakwani hospital, and two dialysis machines at a cost of $3.5M. A DC 3600 Hematology analyzer will be bought for the Linden Hospital Complex for $3M and $50M will be used for the purchase of autoclaves, analyzers, Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, defibrillators, and Doppler monitors, among other equipment.
The objective of the programme of disability and rehabilitation services is to provide services for all persons with impairments and disabilities, enabling them to achieve a greater level of independence and a greater level of participation in society.
To this end, $21.8M was proposed as capital expenditure. The sum of $10M is allotted for the purchase of vehicles which include $6M for a pick-up and a 15 – seater bus for $4M for the Cheshire home. Another $5M was allotted for other equipment.
With $6M, medical equipment will be purchased such as tympanometer, neurology bed, audiometers, auditory brainstem response machine, echo check screeners and adjustable manual therapy stools.
Additionally there will be construction of a building for the training centre for the treatment of physical disability at the Cyril Potter College of Education, Turkeyen.
Minister Norton ended his speech by saying that he supports the 2017 National Budget noting that it will benefit all Guyanese.
By Gabreila Patram