Guyana’s health sector received an additional boost especially where healthcare delivery to babies is concerned, with the commissioning of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the New Amsterdam Hospital. The event followed a similar commissioning event at Linden Hospital on Thursday.
The initiative became a reality as a result of a collaboration of a Canadian- based charitable organization, Guyana Help the Kids (GHTK) which is headed by overseas-based Guyanese doctor, Narendra Singh, External Director of the Pediatrics Residency Programme.
The initiative at the New Amsterdam Hospital cost between US$50,000 and US$70,000 including shipping, training and travel expenses.
In Guyana, there are over 15,000 deliveries that occur throughout the country, more than 90 per cent of babies delivered occur at the Linden, New Amsterdam, Suddie, Georgetown and West Demerara Hospitals, thus the initiative by GHTK focused on those hospitals. The programme is intended to expand to Suddie shortly. Last year, a state-of-the-art 24- bed NICU was commissioned at the Georgetown Hospital.
That initiative existed amongst the University of Guyana, the Ministry of Health and Georgetown Public Hospital. Dr. Singh mentioned that as a result of that initiative, the neonatal mortality rate was dropped by 50 per cent.
It should be noted that the NICU will not go into operation until nurses and doctors entrusted to use the facility undergo intense training at the Georgetown Public Hospital NICU. Also, the unstable electricity supply to the room which houses the NICU has to be sorted out.
Dr. Singh urged that the equipment be maintained at all times. The NICU at N/A Hospital consists of five incubators of which one is a transport incubator, “because if there is a very sick baby that needs to go to another hospital, it will be put in that one and transported safely to Georgetown”.
In addition, there are IV pumps, cardiac monitors, phototherapy lights, and other implements.
Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, praised Guyana’s further step to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Several persons were present for the formal commissioning of the facility in the N/A Hospital Boardroom including his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chetram Singh; Region Six Chairman, Mr. David Armogan; CEO of New Amsterdam Hospital, Mr. Alan Johnson; Medical Superintendent, Dr. Vishalya Sharma; and Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran.