$97M digital x-ray unit commissioned at Fort Wellington

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Residents of Fort Wellington and other neighbouring communities can expect expedited X-ray services as a modern, $97 million digital X-ray unit was commissioned at the Fort Wellington Hospital on Monday.

This new diagnostic apparatus replaces the outdated analogue machine and promises greater efficiency and reliability in conducting radiography for the people of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).

At the commissioning ceremony, Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal explained that before the new machine, there were constant delays, causing frustration among patients who required such service.

Now, with the commissioning of this modern equipment, there will be no more delays for the people of Mahaica-Berbice.

Meanwhile, Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr Theresa Sarju highlighted that this newest addition to the hospital’s services is set to benefit over 4,000 residents.

Delivering the feature address was Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony stressed that the government found that it needed to replace aged equipment.

He said this was necessary recognising the transformation that is currently unfolding throughout the country.

He further explained that the units emit smaller radiation that is less harmful to people compared to traditional X-rays, which require protective gear to prevent exposure to radiation over time.

“It doesn’t harm people and that by itself is a very important consideration. So, with all the new units that we are putting in, this is a safety feature… because you are exposed to a lower dose of radiation but you’re getting a higher quality of image,” he explained.

Additionally, the quality of imaging will be enhanced significantly and can be uploaded to a server accessible at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) by a radiologist.

The government is implementing measures to improve diagnostic capabilities in all ten administrative regions by replacing analogue machines. So far, approximately 15 digital machines have been installed in various health facilities across Guyana.

“I think by the end of the year, I would safely say that we would have replaced all the analogue machines and we’ll be adding to other areas that require such digital X-rays,” the health minister further informed.

The ministry is also replacing ultrasound equipment nationwide to enhance diagnostic capacity at various facilities.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance and the Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh also delivered brief remarks.

He reemphasised that it is the vision of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government to build a world-class healthcare system.

“Our government’s objective is to ensure that good quality healthcare is available to everyone within reach, to every single Guyanese citizen, irrespective of their village. That is our agenda. And this x-ray machine is to be seen in that context,” he stressed.

The World Bank Group’s representative, Diletta Doretti commended the government’s step to enhance access to healthcare for those in outlying regions. She also sounded the institution’s commitment to continued cooperation to achieve One Health in Guyana.

This is part of a joint partnership between the World Bank Group and the Government of Guyana as part of the One Health programme.

The machine cost over $19.7 million, and the UPS and PDU cost $16 million. The room that housed the analogue machine required retrofitting to accommodate the new equipment for $40 million. Additionally, the electrical system was upgraded at a total cost of $18 million, bringing the total expenditure to $97 million.