President’s Update : April 2019
PRESIDENT’S UPDATE : APRIL 2019
I am very pleased to let you know that our recent trip to Antigua was a resounding success. As outlined in our Strategic Directions for 2019, Guyana Help the Kids (GHTK) is moving forward with the expansion of our activities into the Eastern Caribbean. We have had excellent meetings with officials in Antigua who have responded positively to our outreach. It is our goal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health in the near future.
Antigua has embraced the Mission of GHTK and understand that we will be changing our name to Giving Health to Kids (although we will still keep the GHTK byline in our documents). Antigua has approximately 1000 births per year with an infant mortality rate of 13/1000 births. There are two paediatricians in the NICU and no Neonatal Intensive Care trained nurses. While the team is consistently able to save babies above 28-weeks’ gestation, there are challenges with babies less than 28-weeks for a number of reasons including the availability of specialized nutrition.
In meetings with Ministry officials in Antigua, the proposed partnership will endeavour to enhance the care currently provided to decrease the infant mortality while establishing a sustainable training program for neonatal nursing. A one-year Nursing NICU program will start in July 2019, and the plan will be to use this as a HUB for training NICU nurses for the rest of the Caribbean. The program for Physician Training will not begin in Antigua at this time, but the offer will be made for doctors to enter the Paediatric Training Program in Guyana. We will, however, conduct regular lectures in Antigua to elevate the standard of Neonatal Care.
We have also committed to assisting Antigua with the procurement and purchase of essential Neonatal equipment for their NICU.
During our stay in Antigua we were warmly welcomed by Hon. Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Albert Duncan, Medical Director. In addition, I presented a paper on Choosing Wisely to the Health Care community with a focus on evidence based medical practice. There is no doubt that Antigua is very pleased that we will support their initiatives in increasing neonatal training for nurses, doctors and other staff involved in the care of their most vulnerable population – the children.
In relation to our program in Guyana, I am pleased to provide the following update:
- 15 physicians have completed their Residency Training to-date
- 4 more physicians will graduate in 2019 and 4 applications have been received for this coming year
- thanks to the support of McMaster University for their monthly subspecialty lectures, the program is almost self-sufficient
- 70 NICU nurses have been trained so far
- a new two-year neonatal nursing degree program will be starting in June in collaboration with the University of Guyana
- 10 new incubators have been delivered this year
- 5 new CPAP machines have been purchased with the funds raised from the Gala held in November 2018
The Board is currently planning the Gala for 2019 and we ask that you save the date of Saturday, November 2, 2019 in your calendars. This year the event will be held at the Paramount Centre in Woodbridge.
It is our goal to provide you, our supporters, with regular updates on our activities and we welcome your feedback and questions always.
Dr. Narendra Singh, President GHTK
Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, Dr. Shivon Bell, Dr. Shirley Sit, Hon. Molwyn Joseph, Dr. Narendra Singh, Dr. Claudine Richardson&Dr. Albert Duncan.
Donation of Medical Equipment made possible by GHTK generous Board Member Mr. Kelly Pearce.