$6.8B set aside to fight Covid-19

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Government has set aside $6.8 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic this year, which includes the provision for an additional 260,000 doses of vaccines, among other initiatives.
In presenting the budget, on Wednesday Senior Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh said that in 2022, the COVID-19 response programme will continue to heavily rely on masking, physical distancing, ventilation and sanitising requirements, access to COVID-19 vaccines and care and treatment at the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH).
Additionally, the government anticipates operationalising a maternal delivery room, oxygen plant and physiotherapy department, among others, at the IDH. Dr. Singh indicated that the government’s top objective is to modernize the healthcare sector in Guyana and to improve service delivery. To achieve the said objective, $73.2 billion has been allocated for the healthcare sector for 2022.
“Mr. Speaker, Government continues to expand access to health services and facilities. Our clear
policy mandate is that every health facility across the country must be sufficiently comfortable,
functional and equipped with all the basic amenities,” the Senior Minister noted. In 2022, a total of $16.1 billion has been budgeted to launch a major expansion in public health care facilities.
Of the amount allocated, $12.4 billion will be used for the design and construction of a state-of-the-art paediatric and maternal hospital, upgrading of the West Demerara and Bartica regional hospitals, and the construction of six modern regional hospitals at Anna Regina, Tuschen, Diamond, Enmore, Bath and No. 75 Village, Corentyne.
Dr. Singh indicated the Government intends to eliminate incidences of drug shortages by 2023 and to that end, some $17.9 billion has been budgeted to procure drug supplies for the health sector in 2022.
Moreover, the government is focused on further expanding its Emergency Medical Services
programme this year, hence, $26 million has been budgeted for two additional ambulances.
With respect to mental health, the government has budgeted $39 million for the extension of the mental health ward at the national referral hospital.
An additional $50 million has also been budgeted for training including in specialty areas such as addiction and rehabilitation. For adolescent health, the government will be dispensing $154 million into the expansion of the contraceptive programmeto reduce unplanned pregnancy among teenagers. Additionally, $50 million has been budgeted for advancement of the programme led by the Office of the First Lady on the promotion of menstrual hygiene. Dr. Singh said that this initiative will benefit over 30,000 adolescent girls in Guyana.

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