Guyana ranks second to last in region for access to quality healthcare – IDB

To raise the standard of living of its people, the bank has recommended that the new oil producing state channel a portion of its wealth into efforts that would transform the health sector.  Just recently, the IDB provided Guyana with a US$97M loan. That money is set to help Guyanese authorities strengthen the health care network. As is customary with such loans, the IDB conducts a review of the state of affairs for its borrower and how its loan will make a difference.       

In one of its reports, the IDB spoke extensively about access to quality health care in Guyana. It referenced the 2021 Global Health Security Index which measures how prepared nations are for epidemics and pandemics. The IDB pointed out that Guyana placed 126th out of 195 countries and next to last in the Caribbean, after Haiti.

Not enough beds

Similarly, the IDB said Guyana also ranks 137th out of 195 in the global health security index and is particularly weak in early detection and reporting of epidemics, which came to attention with how the country handled the COVID-19 pandemic. While the country has an extensive offer of primary health care through its numerous health posts and centers, the IDB said hospital care is more constrained, with only 1.6 beds per 1,000 persons. The bank said this is lower than the averages in Latin America (2.2) and the Caribbean (2.3).

Furthermore, the financial institution said the country also faces human resource limitations, with just 0.8 doctors and 1.0 nurses per 1,000 persons, far below the Latin American and Caribbean averages of 2.0 and 2.8, respectively.

Given the concentration of health professionals in the coastal and urban areas, the IDB said these indices are even worse in the rural interior with indigenous peoples who face higher mortality rates, increased incidence of diabetes, unique mental health concerns, and low access to maternal care.

The IDB also noted that while Guyana’s health care system has seen improvements in the past two decades, the life expectancy at birth (70 years in 2019) is the second lowest in the region. The financial institution noted that the population is relatively young, and only 7 percent is aged 65 years or older, although this portion may grow quickly in coming years as the country progresses to the final stage of the demographic transition with lower birth and mortality rates.

The IDB also pointed to a recent (2018/9) nationwide assessment of 341 health facilities which showed that many of them require infrastructure rehabilitation, construction and/or upgrade and equipment replacement or provision. In fact, 20 percent of the buildings had no electricity, and only 60 percent of buildings received water continuously during operating hours.

In addition, the report found that just 20 buildings (6 percent) received treated water. Regarding structural, architectural, and operational integrity, 24 of the buildings were judged to require immediate rehabilitation and/or construction. Furthermore, a study of three regional and six district hospitals revealed that six reported routine medication shortages, and four, routine water or electricity shortages, while all district hospitals showed insufficient capacity for emergency surgery.

The report also states that the country’s national reference hospital, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), requires significant infrastructure investments. Similarly, at the time of evaluation in 2018/19, the New Amsterdam (NAH) and Linden (LH) regional hospitals, which provide specialized reference services to the country’s interior, where the underserved Amerindian populations are predominant, were deemed to require rehabilitation in multiple service areas within three years.

The New Amsterdam Hospital needs refurbishing 

In the hinterlands, the IDB said the current – and depreciated – infrastructure of key district hospitals limits the supply of services that should be provided to the population at the local level, such as basic imaging and diagnostic services, which in turn forces people to travel or to be transferred to other regions. It said much of the country’s health infrastructure, including the hospital facilities, presents access difficulties for persons with disabilities based on physical limitations in the current infrastructure and lack of protocols for providing services to them. It is hoped that the US$97 million loan recently approved by the IDB will help to address the foregoing, among other deficiencies.

According to loan documents, the US$97M programme will expand the capacity of seven hospitals (four hinterland hospitals in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, Linden Hospital, New Amsterdam Hospital, and Georgetown Public Hospital) and extend the coverage of diagnostic exams and medical consultations. It will also increase the efficiency of the public health system by supporting improvements in logistics, management, and processes. Infrastructure upgrades will also include more efficient use of water and energy as well as accessibility provisions for disabled persons.

It is expected that the project will benefit around 406,000 persons, over half of the country’s population. In addition, the telehealth activities, which will be installed in over 15 health facilities, will reach all 10 of the country’s regions, including the hinterlands.

The New Amsterdam Hospital is one of the facilities that will benefit from the US$97M loan. IDB officials had found it in a deplorable state where mold was on the walls of the operating room.

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Comments

  • Dennis Albert  On 12/14/2022 at 10:08 am

    The public hospitals are a mess, but the buregoning privatised clinics and hospitals are a bit better, though it will cost you thousands of US dollars per visit.

    Where is all of the money going to if at US$80 a barrel, multiplied by 360,000 barrels a day, and with a guaranteed 14.5% revenue share, that is over a billion US dollars a year in oil revenues.

    Still begging for US$97 million LOAN politrickians?

    Are we becoming like Equatorial Guinea on steroids?

  • Dennis Albert  On 12/14/2022 at 10:09 am

    he public hospitals are a mess, but the burgeoning privatised clinics and hospitals are a bit better, though it will cost you thousands of US dollars per visit.

    Where is all of the money going to if at US$80 a barrel, multiplied by 360,000 barrels a day, and with a guaranteed 14.5% revenue share, that is over a billion US dollars a year in oil revenues.

    Still begging for US$97 million LOAN politrickians?

    Are we becoming like Equatorial Guinea on steroids?

  • Age  On 12/14/2022 at 1:15 pm

    Talk about mismanagement. Guyana, the land of many waters, doesn’t have reliable water supplies in 60% of the healthcare facilities.

    And you have densely populated countries like India where the majority if hospitals are almost to the standard of developed countries.

    The most oil per capita, the most fresh water per capita, yet underdevelopment is a scourge.

    Smart minds like Dr. Andre Brandli tried to create change for the better, but ever since madman Freddie wrote about him, we ain’t hear back from Dr. Brandli.

    • Brother Man  On 12/14/2022 at 3:22 pm

      What makes you think Brandy is smart? Quacks and charlatans are everywhere. Open your eyes and you will see. Of course if you’re blind, no one will blame you.

      You lament the underdevelopment of Guyana. You compare it to other countries.

      But what you don’t say is that Guyana was a captive nation for centuries. Guyana’s resources were plundered by international criminals and thieves, its people subjected to slavery and unimaginable brutality, exploitation, and humanization.

      Rome wasn’t built in day, nor can you expect Guyana to be built overnight.

      Give it a rest, ole fella.

      • Age  On 12/15/2022 at 10:35 am

        When Granger was President, there were improvements in public healthcare. But the PPP got oil money and they can’t afford water tank for the public health clinics?

      • Brother Man  On 12/15/2022 at 1:15 pm

        I am no fan of the corrupt PPP or their election-rigging predecessors. They have all grossly mismanaged the country.

        It is primarily for that reason that 1.5 million Guyanese and their descendants live outside of Guyana whose population has remained static and unchanged for more than 50 years.

        After the colonial exploiters and criminals left, the country was handed over to a bunch of incompetent, nepotistic crooks.

        God help the people of this plundered, aggrieved land.

      • Brother Man  On 12/15/2022 at 1:17 pm

        I am no fan of the corrupt PPP or their election-rigging predecessors. They have all grossly mismanaged the country.

        It is primarily for that reason that 1.5 million Guyanese and their descendants live outside of Guyana whose population has remained static and unchanged for more than 50 years.

        After the colonial exploiters and criminals left, the country was handed over to a bunch of incompetent, nepotistic crooks.

        God help the people of this plundered, aggrieved land.

      • Age  On 12/15/2022 at 2:34 pm

        I’m not denying that Guyana was robbed of resources like many colonized countries, but the PPP politicians are telling the diaspora that Guyana is now the best thing since sliced bread.
        Don’t forget that a Minister openly declared that the diaspora are opportunistic and that those who plan to return or invest are doing it at the expense of the locals.

        So as much as I can understand how mismanagement plays a role in worsening the public services, the government is more interested in getting more handouts and loans which do little to improve the country’s public infrastructure.

        Guyana also has a two-tier healthcare system where there is the public health clinics which lack tap water, and the private system such as Woodlands and Dr. Balwant Singh, and for the extremely wealthy, the RemoteMD and Americanized clinics which charge US$1000 or more for a consult.

    • theonly  On 12/15/2022 at 1:59 pm

      Dont worry people, when Rickford Burke wins the next election all of this nonsense will come to an end .

      • Chris  On 12/15/2022 at 2:16 pm

        Is it the same Brooklyn-based Rockford Burke who is wanted by police for extortion?

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