Some 2,728 Guyanese were able to access medical assistance from the Health Ministry’s medical treatment department at a cost of $956 million since 2020.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony said 204 patients received assistance at the cost of $219 million in 2020. Many of those patients were diagnosed at the Georgetown Public Hospital with heart-related ailments.
In 2021, the ministry assisted 1,518 persons at a cost of $445 million.
For this year, some 1,006 persons have so far received assistance at a total cost of $292 million.
Dr Anthony said more persons are expected to benefit by the end of the year.
Under the APNU+AFC Government, some 551 Guyanese accessed medical assistance at a cost of $95.8 million in 2016. The following year, 602 benefitted from $191.6 million in assistance.
In 2018, 464 persons received assistance at a cost of $207.2 million. In 2019, 684 persons benefitted at a cost of $219.9 million.
The health minister relayed that many persons required cardiac surgeries in 2020.
As a result, many of the surgeries were conducted at the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI) and paid for by taxpayers. Other areas of assistance included funds for dialysis and MRIs, as well as a range of other surgeries.
Dr. Anthony said the ministry’s medical treatment department is specially dedicated to assisting persons in need.
“Anybody requiring such assistance can refer to that department. There are some requirements. Of course, you will have to bring in what is your diagnosis, who is the doctor that is treating you, we will have to evaluate whether or not we can do it in the public sector. If we can do it in the public sector then we will put you in the relevant clinic so that you can get that type of surgery,” the health minister said.
If the service is not available in the public sector, the ministry will seek assistance from the private sector.
Apart from surgeries, the health ministry has also recently begun providing hearing aids to patients, free of charge.
“Previously a person who had to require a hearing aid, they probably had to spend a minimum $65,000. Many persons could not afford that, so we have removed the fees. We were actually asking persons to pay for the cost of the hearing aid, but since a lot of people could not afford it, we have removed the fees. So, the government is buying those hearing aids and making it available to the patients,” Dr Anthony said.
Since the introduction of the hearing-aid assistance programme a month ago, 156 persons have benefitted. The ministry has targeted 500 persons by the end of the year.