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… free medicine, free vaccination, lower child mortalityFree medicines and life-saving vaccines are just some of the health care advances Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy pointed to as he defended his Ministry’s $14B allocation in this year’s budget.Dr. Ramsammy recalled the arguments of MPs Vanessa Kissoon and Desmond Fernandes pointing out that there was real pain behind the events they related in their arguments; events where the health-care system had lapsed. He went on to say, however, that it was unfair to select a few instances and claim this to be the entire picture.He noted that the inability to provide all the necessary medicines to everyone is not a new phenomenon, and certainly is not specific to Guyana either.Minister Ramsammy recalled the 80s and the 90s where as he put it, medicine was gifted to Guyana and most of it was expired.He said that for sufferers of diabetes and hypertension, there was a new medicine each week depending on what had been gifted.Today, he argued, Guyana provides all of the major medicines that are required by the World Health Organisation in all of the public hospitals and medical centres across the country.The Minister boasted that Guyana is one of the few countries in the world where all essential medicines are free in the public sector and some in the private sector.He said that he was unaware of any other country in the world with the exception of Cuba where such a practice is followed.He spoke of Trinidad, where there is a programme which provides hypertension and diabetes medicines for senior citizens and of Africa where, he said,Cheap Jerseys Store, people have to pay for their medicines.According to Dr. Ramsammy,Authentic NHL Jerseys, 2011 will see $3B spent on medicine, with a further $1B coming from foreign sources. He said that in 1991 the monies spent on medicine amounted to US$6 per capita but today that figure stands at US$26 per capita.He called the increasing figure a major achievement for the sitting Government and called on the entire House to “be proud of what Guyana has done.”He went on to promise that the Government will meet the medicinal needs of the people “every time and everywhere” saying “… we are getting there.”The Minister also pointed out that as the country receives more doctors and more specialists, the country’s diagnostic abilities will also increase.That increase, he said, will lead to the early detection of more diseases as well as the opportunity to treat more ailments.Dr. Ramsammy estimates,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, however, that in order to meet the rising demand for medicine that these trends will create, the country will need to spend some $5B to $6B each year.To justify the expenditure he pointed out that although it cost $300M to procure drugs for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension in 2010, 40,000 people received treatment for those ailments free of cost,Cheap China Jerseys, through the public health sector.The minister also told the House that the bill for non-communicable chronic diseases is expected to escalate.In 2011 he said, the projections for diabetes and hypertension alone are some $500M. This is in part because the centres for the care and treatment of these diseases are spreading further and further out into the country and as a result, health care workers are able to reach more people.Dr. Ramsammy went on to speak of the distribution of an “expensive” group of cholesterol-lowering drugs, called Statins, that no other country supplies as an essential medicine as Guyana does.He said that in order to supply 15,000 people with this one drug will cost the country $1B. He boasted that few countries today can say that they supply all of the essential medicines that Guyana does for free.Aside from free medicine, the Government can also lay claim to free vaccination. According to Dr. Ramsammy, there are over fifteen free vaccines that are given to all children. These vaccines, he noted, have gone a long way towards reversing the child mortality rates in Guyana.He pointed out that in 1991, 17 percent of all deaths in Guyana were children under the age of five. He said that the country endured the “embarrassing situation” that saw between 100 to 120 child deaths per 1000 deaths, but by 2010 that figure had been reduced to 20 deaths per 1000.He asserted that the Government still felt that figure to be too high and was doing all in its power to see it further reduced having set a target of 16 by 2015.Dr. Ramsammy said that of the $14B,Cheap NFL Jerseys China, more than $400M will be going to the vaccination programme.A programme that sees fifteen life-saving vaccines distributed for free to children where in other countries parents would have needed to pay.He said that today 98 percent of children are immunised and the Government is still going after the remaining 2 percent.The Minister went on to point out that one of the major causes of serious, even deadly respiratory illnesses in children, is the pneumococcal strain of bacteria. In 2009, however ,the Government added the PCP-7 vaccine to its vaccination regimen.It will combat at least seven types of the bacterium, preventing possible infections from that quarter. He went on to say that last week the vaccine was replaced by a PCP-13 vaccine.The Minister also noted that later this year health centres will begin administering the HPV vaccine to girls aged 11,12 and 13 in order to prevent the contraction of HPV or the Human Papillomavirus, which causes 85 percent of cervical cancers.There are also plans to introduce such a vaccine for boys, too, since as the Minister puts it, the girls do not contract the sexually transmitted disease from nowhere – it has to come from somewhere.As the issues of child mortality were discussed, so too were those of maternal mortality. Minister Ramsammy noted that he was not about to shy away from the problem and openly admitted that 2010 has not been a good year in this regard.In 1991, he said that 57 pregnant women died, the maternal mortality that year was 32 per 10,000. In 2002 it was 12.8 per 10,000, in 2008 it was 9.81 per 10,000 and in 2009 it had dropped to 8 per 10,000.But in 2010 that figure jumped to 15 per 10,000.Dr. Ramsammy argued that the Government had made significant strides in addressing the problem, but the last few months of 2010, he admitted, were a major setback.He noted that the public concerns over the matter were justifiable but he called attention to the fact that while health workers may be blamed for these tragic deaths, they should also be praised for the 17,Stitched Jerseys,000 babies that were safely delivered in 2010 as well.He closed his presentation with the assertion that although health care accounts for almost 10 percent of the budget he felt that it was justified.He also said that although there were those health care workers who were at times a discredit to their profession, there were many more good ones; as such he chose to stand by his health workers for all that they have done and all that they continue to do.
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