In above photo, Canadian High Commissioner Dr. Nicole Giles (2nd from right ) and Dr. Debra Isaac, Director of the Echocardiography Education Programme at the GPHC, (right ) with Health Ministers Dr. George Norton and Dr. Karen Cummings. Photo courtesy of GINA.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana GINA — Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr. Nicole Giles, has assured that Canada will continue to provide support to Guyana’s health care system, even as she underscored the need for the two countries to bolster their relations in this sector.
The Canadian diplomat made this statement during discussions she had with Minister of Public Health Dr George Norton and Minister within the Ministry Dr. Karen Cummings during a courtesy call today at the Health Ministry on Brickdam.
She noted that the Canada-Guyana Medical Partnership Coalition, an accord between the two countries will be improved and that there will be more medical students accredited, more surgeries conducted, and doctors trained.
Dr Norton, speaking of his new portfolio, said he is currently visiting Health Centres and District Hospitals to carry out assessments on the entire system. He added that he is planning with the Pan American Health Organisation and the World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) to work towards an evaluation of the system, and that the Regional Health workers, along with the regional authorities would also help in this regard.
The Minister explained that whilst the regional system is not ‘a bad one’, he also observed that the boards and health authorities have a slight variation of what exists in the regional system. Minister Norton noted that the influential factor is to allow the system to work.
He further explained that the Regional Health Officer (RHO) should have qualifications in Public Health and should work closely with the Regional Executive Officer (REO). Pointing out that there are no Regional Health Committees (RHCs), the Minister added that these should be established and then work with the RHO.
Minister Norton pointed out too that taking the regional system forward with the upcoming Local Government Elections would allow for the sensitisation of personnel to the proper functions of hospitals and health centres. He also observed that the big problem is administration; the repairs of buildings and the supply of equipment. These when addressed properly would enable work to be done in the regions.
Minister Cummings endorsed Minister Norton’s statements, and pointed out the tiers which exist in Guyana. She also observed that the preventative aspect which is given by health workers is sometimes marred when equipment and medicine are not always available. Minister Cummings noted that the partnership being offered by Canada, in operationalising the Regional system would enable better working at the health centres.
Minister Norton expressed gratitude for the partnership without which he noted Guyana could not enjoy the kinds of services offered. He said that he is convinced that the district hospitals would be better run by management committees whether in an advisory or executive capacity.
Meanwhile Dr. Giles stated that the empowerment of communities would make the regional system much stronger. She added that in Canada, the community-based approach was found to be about the clinic which has the right personnel and the resources to work with it. She noted too that the High Commission’s perspective to the approach suggested by Dr. Norton would be very welcomed to the Guyana -Canada Medical Partnership Coalition.
She observed that the coalition would have a compendium of 40 Canadian Medical Organisations which are largely privately funded, and which will come to Guyana to deliver medical services. Dr. Giles pointed out that the High Commission plays a facilitating and coordinating role, this is why the coalition was founded.
The Canadian envoy also pointed out that the role of Canada which gives guidelines and approval for the actual administration would be at the hospitals and clinics to protect the health and welfare of citizens.