In keeping with its commitment to improve the delivery of healthcare services in remote communities, government has announced that some 20 telemedicine sites will be established in hinterland regions by the end of June.
This was specifically disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony at the launch of the National Expansion of the HEARTS Initiative for the Management of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston.
“We have just established four sites in Region One, and just over the last two days, we have put in three sites in Region Eight,” the health minister disclosed.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), this move is in keeping with the administration’s commitment to improving access to primary healthcare for residents living in remote hinterland communities. The electronic system will allow doctors in the capital city to easily contact community health workers (CHWs) in rural communities.
Minister Anthony also revealed that in the new week, four additional telemedicine sites will be established in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni.)
The sites will be equipped with technological devices that include a digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometer, blood pressure monitor, mobile ultrasound, exam cameras and others.
“We’re building out this telehealth infrastructure and what that will allow us to do, that with the help of the Community Health Worker in a very remote community, we would be able to monitor our patients in a more effective way,” Dr Anthony stated.
The first four telemedicine sites were established in Gunns Village, Nappi, Yupukari and Parikawarinau in 2022.
To further expand the programme, the government allocated $1.8 billion in budget 2023 to implement the telemedicine system in Region One (Barima – Waini), Region Seven (Cuyuni – Mazaruni), Region Eight (Potaro – Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo).
Meanwhile, the health ministry has developed an electronic health record and legislation which will protect patients’ privacy and confidentiality.