Supporting Regional Healthcare in Guyana
When Global Links Program Officer Marisol Valentin visited Lethem Hospital in July 2011, she found that the hospital, in the southern part of Guyana near Brazil, was undergoing big changes. The 25-bed hospital serves a population of about 23,000, in districts with difficult terrain. A trip to Lethem Hospital can mean a long drive in a jeep, a boat or a plane.
Once patients reached the hospital, resources to treat them were often inadequate. The gurneys shown here, for the emergency department, are very old and one lacks a pad. Global Links was able to provide two new padded gurneys, along with linens and other furnishings and supplies.
In addition, the lack of proper storage equipment made it difficult for the staff to organize materials. Global Links donated supply carts, an equipment tower, file cabinets and office furnishing to help improve the situation.
Before the Guyanese Ministry of Health decided to expand capacity at some of the regional hospitals such as Lethem, the only recourse for patients in need of advanced care was a 14 to 16-hour bus trip to Georgetown, on a road that is not completely paved. Urgent cases must travel by air, in small propeller planes.
Global Links’ work in Guyana supports graduates of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba. In partnership with the Guyanese Ministry of Health, Global Links is supporting those hospitals that play a key role in the ELAM doctors' training or that are run by graduates of the Cuban medical school.
Global Links is also working with the Ministry of Health to remodel hospitals at Bartica and Suddie. Bartica is a 50-bed hospital that serves the 2nd largest district in Guyana. Because of its river-locked location, transporting goods there is difficult and costly.
Here, Marisol stands with the staff at Bartica. Global Links’ donation included bedside stands and patient room chairs, along with blood pressure units, laryngoscopes, and nebulizers.
Suddie Hospital serves 180 patients a day and also supports a network of health centers. Donations provided by Global Links will support its cancer screening department, maternity ward, and regular patient wards.
Guyana’s constitution supports healthcare as a human right. Expanding services at regional hospitals far from the capital of Georgetown will help to make that possible.