Twenty-five additional communities in the hinterland and rural areas will benefit from the implementation of the telemedicine programme in their health facilities, signalling the government’s aggressive push to ensure quality, efficient health services are delivered to all.
This was revealed by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony at the ministry’s year-end press conference held at Brickdam, Georgetown on Friday.
Telemedicine is a two-way, real-time interactive communication between a patient and healthcare provider at different sites. It is supported by audio and video equipment and integrated medical devices that empower clinicians to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely and is beneficial in Guyana’s case.
“Next year, we have identified at least another 25 areas; it might be more because we’re working on some streams of funding that might allow us to do more sites,” Dr. Anthony disclosed.
The telemedicine programme was officially launched in 2022 with four Amerindian communities in Region Nine piloting the programme. It was later expanded to 25 communities in Region One, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10 with an allocation of $1.8 billion in the ministry’s $84.5 billion budget in 2023.
“This has been helping us to reach every remote community and the equipment that we have and the training that we have been giving to the healthcare workers would include them being able to set up the equipment to do ECGs and to also do ultrasound,” the health minister further highlighted.
Each telemedicine site will be equipped with the requisite technological devices, which provide Community Health Workers (CHWs) stationed in the respective villages with 24-hour access to specialists from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
These include a digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometer, blood pressure monitor, mobile ultrasound, and exam cameras among other technological devices that will be used in the delivery of this service.
The implementation of the telemedicine programme forms part of the President Ali-led administration’s efforts towards improving Guyana’s healthcare system into a world-class system.