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$38.7B of $84.9B allocated for healthcare sector already expended on modernization projects – report highlights

$38.7B of $84.9B allocated for healthcare sector already expended on modernization projects – report highlights

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Kaieteur News – In the first half of 2023, the government has sought to demonstrate its commitment to the modernization and transformation of the healthcare sector, with a substantial allocation of funds. According to the recently published mid-year report, a total of $38.7 billion out of the allocated $84.9 billion was expended for this purpose.

One of the notable developments during this period was the commencement of construction on a state-of-the-art paediatric and maternal hospital, with an expenditure of $2.2 billion. Simultaneously, construction projects for regional hospitals in Lima, Enmore, Bath, and Diamond also kicked off, with $3.1 billion invested. These endeavours aim to enhance healthcare access and infrastructure across the country.

Furthermore, the report mentions ongoing efforts to design and extend hospitals in Kato, Moruca, Kamarang, and Lethem, with an emphasis on equipping them with telemedicine capabilities. Additionally, plans are in progress for the construction of the Bartica Regional Hospital. A noteworthy allocation of $721.7 million, out of a budgeted $1 billion, was dedicated to retrofitting and upgrading health centres and posts nationwide, meanwhile the maintenance of health facilities received $372.5 million, a significant step towards ensuring their upkeep.

The report also highlighted future endeavours, such as contracts for upgrading Karasabai, Annai, and Sand Creek health centres into district hospitals, along with design and supervision for the construction and rehabilitation of health science training facilities in Regions 2 and 6. These projects are anticipated to be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2023.

In terms of bolstering medical resources, the government allocated $459.7 million for the procurement of medical and non-medical equipment across all regions. Additionally, efforts to streamline the supply chain management of drugs and medical supplies have shown promise, with a 75 percent fulfilment rate achieved by June 2023. The report optimistically predicts further improvements in procurement and distribution by year-end.

The mid-year report also emphasised investments in human resource capacity. To ensure equal access to healthcare, the government deployed four government medical officers and ten nurses to hinterland regions within the first half of the year. A significant boost in nurse intake was observed due to a new hybrid approach that combines virtual and face-to-face classes for healthcare professional training.

Notably, 1,160 students have been admitted to the Professional Nursing Training Program by mid-year, a substantial increase compared to previous yearly intakes.

This innovative hybrid, decentralized education system allows students to pursue both theoretical and clinical aspects of their courses within their respective regions. Utilizing the COURSERA online platform and simulation centres throughout the regions, this approach seeks to create a more accessible and robust healthcare workforce.