Eye care services envisioned for each region
Mahdia Regional Hospital is expected to have an established eye care facility as the Public Health Ministry aims to expand the service beyond one region. The plan is to place optometrists at all district hospitals and Regional hospitals by 2020.According to the Director of Regional and Clinical Services of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Kay Shako, this is being done to ensure a wide range of specialised services are available to all Guyanese. She made this disclosure as she accompanied the Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence to a community meeting in Princeville, Region 8 (Potaro-Siparuni).An eye care specialist from the Cuban Medical Brigade in Guyana advises a resident of Waipa, Region Eight during a medical outreachDr Shako explained that while ophthalmologists work in Guyana, they are a rare speciality. However, as there are more qualified optometrists in the country, they can be deployed to various regions. An Ophthalmologist is a doctor who is concerned with the study and treatment of disorders and diseases of the eye. The optometrist, however, is an eye care specialist who examines eyes for both vision and health deficiency.“The new direction now is to have an optometrist… We would have examined every region, so the optometrists are the medical eye specialists so to speak. They examine the eye, determine the diseases, and they can order treatment for you. This will work in the primary health care setting,” the Director said.Dr Shako informed the Region 8 residents that optometrists have already been placed at some hospitals. She assured that specialised services at the hospitals in their region will soon be a reality.“Optometrists were placed in some of our hospitals already so we will get it done between the last quarter of this year or next year you are going to be having an optometrist here in Region 8”.Regional Health Officer for Potaro-Siparuni Dr Chrissundra Abdool said the persons who required specialised services (eye care, dental) are those who mostly reside in far-flung communities. She pledged to work closely with the Public Health Ministry to have these services established.“We have other basic services available, but here in Region 8, eye care services are needed… We need to focus on those persons in the far-flung communities, they are the persons who need our help the most. So, my vision is to ensure we get there by setting up services, one at a time”.Even as the Ministry works to bridge the gap in healthcare by establishing these services, specialised outreach teams are deployed to communities that are not easily accessed. This is done to ensure that the persons living in these areas benefit from quality health care. The specialist doctors that are on these team make timely diagnoses in most cases saving lives.For this year, specialists have been deployed to Waipa and Karisparu in Region 8, where approximately 500 residents were able to access the specialised services brought to them. The services included dentistry, ophthalmology, dermatology and general medicine.