Guyana Help The Kids’ (GHTK) recently announced plans for the expansion of its actiities into the Eastern Caribbean are still on track for 2019 implementation, says the Charity’s President Dr Narendra Singh. Speaking to local community reporters during a recent media scrum, Dr Singh advised that GHTK’s Board will early in 2019 be engaging in the required measures to have the Charity’s name officially changed to Global Help The Kids. This Dr Singh indicated would be the necessary first step towards to the eventual implementation of the Charity’s expansion plans later in 2019.
As was indicated in the recently published Premier Issue of KidsAID, GHTK’s annual magazine, Dr Singh and his fellow Board Members have already engaged Dr. Carlene Radix, the OECS’ Health Lead, in a strategic partnership to identify the needs of the region and to develop a plan for moving forward to address the identified challenges. Some of the challenges that have been identified as facing the OECS’ member territories include but are not limited to the following:
(1) Very few NICU Nurses in the Caribbean with no local training program
(2) There is no Neonatologist but a number of pediatricians that were trained several years ago
(3) There is inadequate functional neonatal equipment with limited biomedical support
(4) There are often shortages of essential drugs and consumable items
( 5) Critically ill babies are often transferred overseas at very significant costs to the respective governments.
In light of the need to address these identified challenges, the OECS Commission has decided to engage a number of partners to form an alliance to address maternal and neonatal issues in the OECS. The Alliance’s mandate will be to address the many challenges facing the OECS in their desire to provide the highest standard of neonatal care. Representatives from the OECS Member States, GHTK, and World Pediatric Project (WPP) are some of the partners being considered. In the meantime GHTK is working with the OECS Health Unit to implement the following plans
1. NURSING: Development of a Local Neonatal Nursing Program. Our plan is to begin the program in August 2019.
2. PHYSICIANS: We will be starting monthly webinars with current practices in Neonatal Care. In addition, we have opened the pediatric residency program in Guyana to any physician from the Islands.
3. EQUIPMENT/DRUGS/CONSUMABLES: We will work with the OECS to harmonise types of equipment for pooled purchasing and better shared biomedical support, as well as ensure that the current OECS PPS pooled procurement mechanism for medications and medical products for neonates
4. NEONATAL NETWORK: More longtem, GHTK will work with OECS and the alliance of partners in order to develop a network of care. This network aims to combat the high cost of transferring babies overseas. A neonatal network can be developed in which one or two islands can function as Tertiary Care Centres for high risk babies. To facilitate this network, an inter-island Neonatal Transport system will also need to be developed to ensure safe and efficient transfer of high risk mothers and critically ill babies.
Dr Singh also noted that an engagement with the Canadian Caribbean Diaspora will be fundamental to GHTK’s required expansion of its donor base, as it seeks to acquire the financial support that will be necessary to fulfill its plans. Towards this end, GHTK will be embarking on several new and exciting public awareness activities in the months ahead as it seeks to fulfill its OECS expansion objectives.