President’s Update – June 2019
PRESIDENT’S UPDATE : JUNE 2019
I am delighted to report that the Neonatal Conference held in Guyana on June 1 and 2 was a resounding success with 135 participants over two days. The first day of didactic lectures was led by International and Local Experts in Neonatology, and the second day was dedicated to hands-on workshops in which participants learned skills in resuscitation and some of the nuances of caring for high risk neonates.
We were honoured that Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer of Guyana joined us to welcome all participants and to express appreciation to GHTK, the Sponsors and the organizers for the work done in organizing this inaugural event to support the work of the healthcare teams throughout Guyana who care for the most vulnerable in our society – the children. Dr. Persaud provided objective data on the decreasing neonatal mortality over the past few years and he emphasized the need to strengthen the strategic partnership between the Ministry of Health andGHTK.
For the supporters of GHTK, we cannot emphasize enough what your contributions mean to enable us to do what we do in Guyana, and soon in Antigua. I know it is difficult to imagine that things we take for granted in Canada, are just not available in developing Countries. We think about the birth of a premature baby and we feel reassured that the medical and nursing knowledge along with vital equipment is there to help a newborn survive and grow into a healthy child – sadly this is often not the case!
The Neonatal Conference enabled us to continue our goal of educating and supporting those on the ground in Guyana to reduce infant mortality. The two days provided opportunities for participants to learn from experts in the field to enhance the care that they provide in Guyana and Antigua. Of note, we were very pleased that Antigua sent representatives to the conference and to see the work of GHTK (more about Antigua later in our July update).
One of those experts, Dr. Esther Rai, Neonatologist from McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Canadaspoke about the “Golden Hour” which is the same concept derived from adult medicine that refers to the critically important first hour of management after a patient suffers trauma, stroke or MI. Similarly, the care provided in the first hour after the birth of a preterm or high-risk infant, impacts both short-and-long term outcomes. The development of “Golden Hour” Management Guidelines aims to provide consistent, evidence-based practice to optimize patient outcomes and can be applied at the time of birth but also following resuscitation or during the transportation of a preterm/high risk infant.
It is important to remember that all the speakers volunteered their time and energies to make the conference a success. They travelled from Canada, the USA and of course, within Guyana to provide their knowledge and expertise to support members of the healthcare teams in Guyana to learn from the best in their fields. While we would like to share all the sessions at the Conference, this Update would morph into many pages, instead we would like to recognize them for their belief in GHTK and for giving of their time to a cause that is dear to all our hearts. They are:
Dr. Ulanda Haynes, Paediatrician/Senior Registrar at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Leif Nelin, Neonatologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in OHIO, USA, Dr. Amit Mukerji, Neonatologist at McMaster’s Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, Canada, Dr. Clive Bowman, Paediatrician/Consultant, GPHC, Dr. Garrett Hunt, Paediatric Infection Disease Specialist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, OHIO, USA, Dr. Marisa Seepersaud, Paediatric Surgeon, GPHC, and Mrs. Caitlin Beggs Yearger, UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, USA. A sincere thank you on behalf of all of us at GHTK.
All in all, a very busy but productive and successful conference. The Conference was held at the beautiful Arthur Chang Conference Centre and the facilities and service were outstanding. We also owe sincere thanks to Aruna Faria, GHTK Coordinator for the Paediatric Residency and ICU Nursing Programs – her organizational abilities, her time, attention to detail – were instrumental in the success of this event.
BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN NEONATAL NURSING
We are also very pleased to report that our Application to move the current Neonatal Nursing Diploma to a Bachelor’s Degree in Neonatal Nursing at the University of Guyana (UG) is now before the Academic Board at UG and the goal is for it to be rolled out by the end of September 2019. The 2-year Program will be delivered by the Institute of Health Sciences, which is the educational arm of GPHC, in collaboration with the Faculty of Health Sciences at UG.
Dr. Emanuel Cummings, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Guyana spoke of his enthusiasm and pride for the Bachelor’s Degree program. Dr. Cummings noted that “there are three factors that speak volumes about a country and they are all interlinked. These are Infant Mortality, Maternal Mortality and Life Expectancy”.
Dr. Cummings went on to say “Nurses spend a lot of time with babies, so neonatal training is critical. We also have to look at how many die before the age of six. However, over the past few years there have been significant improvements.” Dr. Cummings also paid tribute to Dr. Narendra Singh, President of GHTK, who was instrumental in setting up the Post Graduate Program.
A recent article in Guyana’s Kaieteur News about GHTK will provide you with more information about the ongoing work of GHTK and our goal to continue to provide sustainability and comprehensiveness to the programs that GHTK is supporting.
Dr. Winsome Scott, Paediatrician, GPHC and President of GHTK, Guyana noted that “they are looking forward to a future of even further reduced neonatal mortality rate with the continuation of training, continued engagement in the residency program and through conferences”. You can access the article through the following link: https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2019/06/04/lowered-infant-mortality-rate-seen-in-guyana-dr-narendra-singh/
Some photos attendees at the Neonatal Conference on June 1 and 2, 2019 in Guyana.
As always, our goal is to provide you, our suporters, with regular updates on our activities and we welcome your feedback and questions always.
Dr. Narendra Singh, President GHTK