Telemedicine, expanded services among improvements for Upper Maz hospital

The Upper Mazaruni District Hospital in Kamarang, Region Seven, has seen substantial investment and development over the past three years, resulting in improved access to expanded healthcare services for residents there and surrounding areas.

One of the major developments includes the introduction of Telemedicine, a new concept undertaken by the government to bridge the healthcare gap between the hinterland and the coast.

Doctor-in-Charge of the district hospital, Dr Mark Allen

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.

Launched officially in 2022, Telemedicine has been expanded to 25 remote villages, including Kamarang.

During a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Doctor-in-charge of the district hospital, Dr Mark Allen explained that through this system, 250 health interventions were conducted in various villages, resulting in a life saved.

Surgical procedures are being done for the very first time

“We’re hoping to diagnose early, prevent further commodities, infant deaths…So, instead of having persons fly all the way to town, we are now able to do it right here and this is going to be the hub,” Dr Allen told DPI.

The senior physician explained “When I first arrived here, the infrastructure was poor. We had little to no resources. Over the years we have worked to have a proper supply chain in relation to medication, now we have a proper supply chain from MMU to Kamarang and Kamarang generally supplies most of the health posts.”

Additionally, surgical procedures are also being conducted for the first time at the Kamarang’s operational theatre, following an investment of over $50 million jointly by the government and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).

A health worker utilising the telemedicine system at the district hospital

Kamarang is also poised to welcome a new and modern state-of-the-art hospital, with the government securing a US$97 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The initiative will also see hospitals constructed in Moruca (Region One), Kato (Region Eight), and Lethem (Region Nine).

“We now have access to better laboratory services; we can offer full CBC services, full biochemistry services. The average patient who would have to travel to Georgetown or to a private institution to get these things done can now have them done right here,” Dr Allen underscored.

Meanwhile, in this year’s budgetary allocation, telemedicine will further be expanded to more than 50 sites across the hinterland, riverine, and remote villages, with more sites already being retrofitted with the necessary equipment.

It is the vision of the People’s Progressive Party Civic Administration, as outlined in its 2020-2025 manifesto, to deliver quality and efficient health services to everyone across Guyana, especially in far-flung areas such as the Upper Mazaruni, where health services are not easily accessible.

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