In observance of World Heart Day 2022 under the theme “Use Heart for every Heart”, the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Chronic Diseases Unit launched the HEARTS Technical Packages on Thursday, September 29, at the Lethem Regional Hospital, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9).
The initiative of this package aims to better assist health care professionals in the prevention and early detection of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension within primary health care.
According to the World Health Organisation/ Pan American Health Organisation (WHO / PAHO), the HEARTS Technical Package comprises six modules and an implementation guide that is of great support to health care providers. It will also be effective in strengthening the management of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and ensuring that there is reasonable access to continuous, standardized, and high-quality care for people who are at high risk.
Additionally, the package is aligned with and builds on the WHO’s package of Essential Non-Communicable Disease Interventions. It also responds to the agreement that sustains effective actions that urgently require the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
With cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in Guyana, before the COVID–19 pandemic, the Chronic Diseases Unit welcomed the initiative from PAHO/WHO to have primary health care be properly equipped to detect cardiovascular diseases in the early stages as such eight pilot sites were selected to benefit from the implementation the packages.
Focal Point of High Blood Pressure and the HEARTS Technical Package initiative, Dr Micheal Pereira emphasised the urgency of having these technical packages be implemented since it will see a reduction in the rate of cardiovascular diseases and Pre-mature deaths.
“If we improve the ways we treat, monitor, and look into risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases, we can better prolong our patients’ life.” – Dr Pereira said during his interactions with health care workers in Lethem.
Dr Pereira also noted that the ‘S’ from HEARTS will soon be changed to ‘D’ to have a component for Diabetes added.
He further explained that the implementation of the HEARTS package at the Primary Health Care facilities, not only will it help to reduce the number of patients visiting the Lethem Regional Hospital, but it will also help to see which patient is at risk in the primary levels and to have those patients be properly treated.
“Primary health care centres play a major role because that’s where we need to control patients, see who is at risk, treat them properly, and avoid them from coming here at Lethem Regional Hospital” – he started.
Lethem Regional Hospital was the last of eight Pilot sites for the official launch of the HEARTS Technical Package. However, since April, the Chronic Diseases Unit has been developing the initiative of the package within various health centres around Guyana. To date, approximately thirty (30) health facilities have since benefited from this initiative, and the Ministry is hoping to have all health facilities benefit.
Medical Superintendent at Lethem Regional Hospital, Dr Delleana Anderson; Dr Dianelle Drepaul, Coordinator of Chronic Diseases Unit; Cecil Abrams, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer; Technical Officer for Tobacco and Alcohol Control, Dr Shelieza Gopie and were also present and participated in the launch of the HEARTs initiative. [Press Release]