Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings today, welcomed 21 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) who are in Guyana for a two-year stint.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings with other officials and Peace Corps team
The volunteers will be attached to the Ministry of Education’s Health Vision 2020 which outlines universal health coverage.
Minister Cummings told the volunteers that they should display the same dedication towards improving the lives of Guyanese people in the healthcare sector as their predecessors.
The Minister said that the Ministry faces challenges with the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), and in dealing with non-communicable diseases which take up 70 percent of their budget.
“We will have to work on that, as well as on our mental health department and suicide rate since we (Guyana) are still the highest in this part of the hemisphere so that is a challenge which is a work in review,” Minister Cummings explained.
She noted that the country’s maternal mortality rate has reduced slightly, but is still a work in progress.
Minister Cummings said, the Ministry will continue to ensure the execution of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially goal three, which indicates the wellbeing of the people.
The Ministry is currently engaged in numerous programmes, “aimed to ensure that the citizens of Guyana are among the healthiest people in
(left to right) Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Kay Shako, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health, Colette Adams, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, and Director of Programming and Training, Peace Corps, Melanie Ingallis
the Caribbean,” the Minister added.
The Ministry will work collaboratively with others since they cannot do it alone thus the need for stakeholders and partners to join their
initiatives, both nationally and internationally, towards ensuring an uncompromising quality of healthcare services to citizens.
Jamie Herring, an anthropologist who also volunteers at domestic violence shelters, pregnancy resource shelters, along with dealing with suicide and crisis calls, said that she wants to learn about the country’s culture since the agency will separate the volunteers into groups, targeting the health and the education sectors.
Meanwhile, Director of Regional Health Services, Dr. Kay Shako told the PCVs that the health system in Guyana is managed by the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), as well as the Ministry of Communities. She noted that Guyana has a comprehensive health system that includes primary, secondary and tertiary levels healthcare.
The PVCs will be deployed to Regions 1, 8 and 9 for 2017 to fill vacant positions. This will ease the burden of referrals to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) hospital. Dr. Shako explained.