Regional Health Officers (RHOs) have been urged to pay closer attention to the needs of the health sector within their regions so as to ensure quality health care is being delivered to residents.
Trevor Thomas, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health
At the opening today, of the inaugural Regional Health Officers’ Meeting for 2017, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, Trevor Thomas, stressed the importance of having RHOs involved in policy development and health programmes. He also said it is important that the officers play an integral role in ensuring that data collection and compilation are done efficiently.
The RHOs meeting is usually held quarterly to address issues resulting in poor healthcare delivery, and to record each region’s progress in the health sector.
“It’s important that we understand and develop a profile, a health profile of our respective regions. What I’d like to see going forward is that in each region, somewhere within the health department, a map of your region, not just where your facilities are located, but data that tell you something about the status of health in your regions,” Thomas explained.
RHOs are challenged with insufficient access to information pertaining to their regions. Geographical challenges make it even more challenging for health officials to tackle new and emerging diseases. Additionally, citizens in far flung areas, more specifically the hinterland, are hindered from accessing quality health care, thus contributing to morbidity and mortality.
Thomas further explained that regional profiles, along with the necessary data gathered will guide RHOs in identifying gaps and shortcomings, making it easier to address issues.
Thomas said, “We need to look at for example our data and Dr. (William) Adu Krow (WHO Representative) mentioned data. What has been our mortality rate in our region during 2016? Do we know how many persons died maybe from illnesses that could be avoided, or maybe just chronic diseases? How many persons died in our region during the year whether it’s from diabetes, whether it’s from trauma? … What were the causes?”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health is seeking to have Regional Health Authorities established in all regions. As the ministry works towards this goal, in the interim Deputy Regional Health Officers and a Deputy Regional Health Services Director will be appointed.
The creation of these new posts and the appointment of officials will allow for a shared work load. The regions will be better able to gather data, manage resources and provide improved overall public health care to persons living in Guyana.