The Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital was officially declared open today by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.
The unit has been in the pipeline for almost three years but was fast-tracked after visits were made by the minister and the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services. The 16-bed High Dependency and Intensive Care Unit will serve critically ill children under the age of 13 and will periodically house congenital heart diseases patients, regardless of age, who underwent surgical procedures compliments of the International Children’s Heart Foundation.
Dr. Rodrigo Soto, Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon of the International Children Heart Foundation (ICHF), said the critical care unit is the first of its kind in Guyana. He added this will pave the way for an expanded PICU which will come into existence in late 2019.
“For the first 12 months it will be basically what we call a High Dependency Unit, which means that every patient that requires special care after any surgery will be able to be taken care of here with the proper equipment and with the physicians and nurses 24/7. The next step is to open the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, which we are aiming to do towards the end of 2019, the beginning of 2020.”
This will require that the unit be adequately staffed with requisite medical professionals. In this regard, Minister Lawrence has mandated the hospital administration to hire the human resources needed to successfully deliver specialized paediatric services. The Minister said, “What I would like to ask is that the next task of the CEO is to ensure that we have specialised personnel to work in this department and that we have the numbers that are needed in order to have a smooth flow and turnover of staff… So, I look forward, CEO, for you and your team to begin to put that in place.”
Dr. Marissa Seepersaud, a Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon attached to the Georgetown Public Hospital, has expressed her anticipation of a further upgrade of the unit. She said, “I think this is a good example of what teamwork can really achieve and lead to, so thank you very much. I really would like to say to that we have been toiling away at this for a while but we really feel as though we have a very supportive administration now that has propelled us to this point.”