“If we are to empower our people and build sustainable communities, it must be on the foundation of a healthy population,” Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan said before continuing to announce that the health sector would receive $35.9B as part of the 2019 National Budget.
The Finance Minister, in his delivery of the 2019 Budget today during the 100th sitting of the National Assembly, further emphasized that continued investments in the health sector will be made to ensure that the public healthcare system is maintained and upgraded to ultimately improve the quality of life for all Guyanese. The $35.9B allocation is $2.6B more than 2018’s allocation.
Other investments in health identified by the Finance Minister include the allocation of $3.2B for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of health infrastructure across the country; $7.8B for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies, and about $1.6B for family health care services, in 2019. Jordan said too that the availability of drugs and medical supplies continues to be of concern to the Administration and systems would therefore be put in place to strengthen procurement planning and ensure cost-effective purchases of drugs, in order to eliminate shortages and emergency purchases. He further noted the risks of non-communicable diseases in Guyana and said that such diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, warrant additional efforts in 2019.
Meanwhile, Jordan said that the Government will be advancing the improvement of its health infrastructure to strengthen and complement its delivery and expansion of services. As a result, efforts will be made to complete the construction of the Kingston bond as well as the upgrading of the Diamond bond to improve effective storage and the distribution of drugs and medical supplies. Provision has also been made to commence construction of a new laboratory for the Food and Drug Analyst Department that will improve our capacity to certify relevant imports and exports, Jordan said. He added that the construction of a new accident and emergency facility at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation “can no longer be delayed” and, as a result, discussions have begun with interested development partners to build a modern, state-of-the-art trauma centre.
Furthermore, the Port Kaituma Hospital Complex is also expected to be completed to better meet the needs of Region 1 while living quarters in key areas such as Kamarang, Kaikan, Lethem, Wiruni, Mabaruma, Leguan and Mabura will be constructed in 2019 to strengthen the workforce across Guyana.