Residents of Diamond/Grove and other communities within proximity along the East Bank Demerara corridor were the target for a public consultation held by the Ministry of Public Health. The aim was to sensitise the residents about government’s move to adopt the SMART hospital initiative.

Speaking at the consultation earlier today, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, said Guyana is forging ahead with this initiative which will essentially see it embracing a “new way of delivering healthcare” in the 21 st century.”

The novel healthcare strategy seeks to improve productivity and efficiency of hospitals in a bid to reduce their operational costs and, in the private sector, help to improve their margins.

The SMART hospital plan is rapidly becoming necessary since patients are quickly evolving into consumers and are demanding optimal ‘customer satisfaction’, which has been a challenge for the healthcare industry.

But according to Minister Cummings, “Our SMART Hospital strategy aims to redefine the care processes, operational procedures and redesigning physical infrastructure to drive a new way of delivering best quality public healthcare.”

“The purpose of this SMART environment is to improve existing procedures for the provision of advanced means of medical care, and to open up new opportunities for medicine,” the Minister added.

The public consultation saw representation from the funding agency the UK-based Department For International Development (DFID); the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation and the design firms NU Vision and ANONYMART Architecture. The latter is contracted to redesign the Diamond Diagnostic Centre; Leonora Cottage Hospital, Lethem Regional Hospital, Mabaruma District Hospital and the Paramakatoi Health Centre.

SMART Hospitals are increasingly viewed as being at the core of medicine, information, health, and business using information, communication and technology (ICT) to support healthcare programmes, Dr. Cummings said.

Two years ago, Guyana embarked on the SMART hospitals programme which includes retrofitting existing identified health structures making them resilient to the vagaries of nature including natural disasters.

Because of these advantages, PAHO/WHO Guyana Representative, Dr William Adu-Krow said that that the SMART concept should be universalised in the Guyanese health care system to ensure all are functional during and after severe crises.

Dr Adu-Krow noted that equity, solidarity, respect for all and integrity in health services provisioning the SMART programme dovetail neatly with PAHO/WHO’s work plan and the hemispheric and global body will maintain its support for the improvement plan monetised by DFID.

When he spoke acting British High Commissioner, Ray Davidson, pointed to several initiatives undertaken in the past two years to help the programme succeed. These include, trained of personnel to apply the Hospital Safety Index (HIS) and Green Checklist Standards; using the HIS and Green Checklist Standards to shortlist the healthcare facilities for retrofitting; and seminars for contractors.

The Diamond Diagnostic Centre and the other four facilities will go Green in keeping with President David Granger’s Green State Initiative. Under the Presidential vision, “our energy sources must be renewable, so that we will soon be offering public healthcare at this Diamond Diagnostic Centre with a reduced carbon footprint,” Dr Cummings said.


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