GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Tuesday January 15, 2018 – Travelling to the capital city of Georgetown in times of emergency can be somewhat infuriating for some residents of indigenous communities. So the Ministry of Public Health is considering partnering with neighbouring Brazil to have Guyanese get medical care there instead.
Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence says that arrangement could ease the burden of getting patients to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
She put the idea to the residents of Paramakatoi, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), during a meeting over the weekend. The minister is scheduled to meet with her Brazilian counterpart later this week and will raise the proposal then as well.
It takes residents of Region Eight just about four hours of travel to access the closest hospital in Brazil, in the town of Uiramuta. In cases where the hospital there cannot handle those cases, patients are referred to the hospital in Boa Vista.
The issue of transportation and medical service was brought to the fore during the minister’s outreach to Paramakatoi. After hearing the plight of a young mother who was unable to bear the cost of flying her sick child to the city for medical checkups, and similar cries by residents, Minister Lawrence made the suggestion.
“Sometimes we have to look at economies of scale, we have to look at time and we have to look at some of those issues that you brought up of persons who will accompany the person who is ill,” she said.
“That is why I’m asking about Brazil, because sometimes we have to think outside the box. And if it means us entering into an agreement with the Brazilian government to ensure that instead of us medevacking over the mountain, that certain patients we can send to Brazil that will help all of us.”
In the meantime, Lawrence said the government would work to further upgrade the Mahdia hospital, where residents of Paramakatoi also go to receive emergency treatment.