As part of the Ministry of Health - Mount Sinai Health System partnership to enhance healthcare services across Guyana, experts are looking at making diabetes prevention, care and treatment more accessible in Hinterland, rural and underserved areas.
In Guyana, 68 percent of deaths in 2016 were attributed to NCDs, 8 percent of which were attributed to diabetes. Between 2000 and 2019, there was a 3 percent global increase in diabetes mortality rates by age.
Dr David Heller Health System Strengthening Lead & Assistant Professor at the Mount Sinai Health System says they are focused on enhancing diabetes care provided in Hinterland and other rural and underserved areas not just in terms of the best cutting edge specialty care but also in primary care, screening and prevention.
“This is all about infrastructure, but that’s at many different levels… in terms of training people, in terms of linkage to care of any given individual patient, in terms of how the human resources at any given levels interact, and also importantly, the information technology which is a whole separate arm of what we’re trying to think about as a partnership will enable this kind of continuative care.”
This will help to ease clogging and congestion at the main site for diabetes care in Georgetown.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose, according to the World Health Organisation.
It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
A major obstacle to diabetes care in Guyana is the fact that many Guyanese live with the disease, not knowing they have it until the more severe complications occur making treatment more difficult.
Dr Zijian Chen, Associate Professor & Diabetes Expert, Mount Sinai Health System says increased education and awareness campaigns will help with this issue.
“If we’re able to invest in changing the culture, teaching the patients; it would reduce all of those complications and overall improve the health of the country.”