The option of reintroducing regional Health Authorities is being explored by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH). The ministry is working to narrow gaps in health care delivery in Guyana and has noted that Regional Health Authorities are necessary if there is to be more control over financial resources.
Director of Regional Health Services (MOPH) Dr. Kay Shako
Director of Regional Health Services (MOPH) Dr. Kay Shako, explained that re-introducing the health authorities can have a direct impact in rolling out efficient health care delivery in the regions. She said they would be responsible for the health sector in the various regions and help manage resources for the sector’s development. Dr. Shako made these observations at the Regional Health Officials second meeting for 2016.
“We are thinking of not introducing but to some extent re-introducing Regional Health Authorities because it was first established in Region five and Region Six, so we think that if the Ministry of Health can have more control over its financial resources we can make a greater input in our health care,” Dr. Shako said.
The RHS Director further explained that the Regional Health Authorities will also ensure that all the health facilities within respective regions are properly staffed with specialised health care professionals. This will reduce the number of referrals to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and other Regional hospitals.
It would also see a decrease in the need for medical evacuations and surgical outreaches as patients’ needs would be addressed within the regions. This will save money that can be later be utilised in other areas of health sector development, Shako pointed out.
“A very good example will be the Lethem hospital. … by the end of this year the hospital will have the required specialists to function in terms of having the surgeries (done) so that we can reduce on our surgical outreaches and also our ‘medivacs’ that usually go to Georgetown Hospital,” she elaborated.
When the decision is finalised by the ministry, the reintroduction of the Regional Health Authorities, should address some of the inefficiencies in the present system where some health programmes are the responsibility of Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs).
The health authorities will also be directly responsible for the efficient delivery of drugs to the respective regions. Expeditors responsible for the delivery of drugs and other medical supplies to hinterland regions are overburdened with duties assigned by the region. This contributes to the late delivery of health supplies causing unsatisfactory health service provision.
It has been noted that Regional officials are forced to prioritizing sectoral projects and often, the health sector is not given priority in the delivery of drugs, staff provision and improved infrastructure.
However, the need for inter-agency collaboration remains important to the total health care delivery system. One example is the Public Health Ministry depending on the Ministry of the Presidency, Department of Public Service to provide nurses and doctors to the Public Health system.