Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence says that discussions are ongoing with the Cuban and Chinese Governments to have specialized medical health officials sent to Guyana to assist in its fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
She was at the time speaking on a Ministry of Health-hosted programme called “COVID-19 Conversations” with veteran Broadcaster, Margaret Lawrence.
The Minister’s affirmation comes amid clamour from various sections of society for the Guyana Government to engage, specifically, the Cubans.
Those calls have intensified after Cuba dispatched contingents of doctors and nurses to Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis and Barbados. Contingent was also dispatched to Italy, where the virus is currently wreaking havoc.
Asked if the Guyana government is in dialogue with the Cuban government to ask for assistance, Lawrence replied: “We are…We have reached out to them; we have reached out to the Government of China, too, for assistance. But we’re asking for a specific assistance to be able to provide some specific services. We’re not just asking for persons, we’re asking especially for specialized personnel in those areas where we are either short of those personnel, or where we don’t have enough to go around,” she said.
The minister reminded that Guyana has, for many years, engaged both the Cubans and Chinese Governments in the area of health. So, having them come to assist Guyana would be “nothing new”. She said that while there are brigades currently in Guyana, the country needs those persons that have specialized skills to fill the gaps.
“So, we’re not asking for a hundred, two hundred and all the big numbers that you see going to other countries, many of whom, do not have brigades,” she said.
Guyana has confirmed 33 cases of COVID-19, which includes five deaths. Eight persons were said to have recovered, three of whom, were associated with the country’s index case. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has projected that 20,000 persons will be infected.