For the first time in Guyana, a pericardiectomy heart surgery was conducted at the Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital, saving the life of a 27-year-old male, who was reportedly told he only had 48 hours to live.According to Medical Director and Gynaecologist of the hospital, Dr Madhu Singh, the surgery on Fazil Ghanny, was performed by Dr Jerge Machin.Dr Singh highlighted that Ghanny was suffering from Constrictive Pericarditis and was being treated at another local hospital. However, when he was informed that he only had 48 hours to live, he contacted the Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital for a second opinion.From left: Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Javier Almeida Gomes; Cardiac surgeon, Dr Jerge Machin; and Medical Director and Gynaecologist, Dr Madhu SinghAccording to information provided by the hospital, pericardium is a membranous double layer of tissue which encloses the heart. There is an outer fibrous layer, and an inner serous layer, the visceral pericardium. The visceral pericardium is the layer that adheres directly onto the heart.Constrictive pericarditis is caused when the pericardium becomes thick and fibrous, preventing the heart from functioning properly. The thick shell, which would be surrounding the heart in this case, prevents it from expanding when blood enters the right chamber. For very severe cases of constrictive pericarditis, it is essential to undergo a pericardiectomy operation.Ghanny was initially told that the surgery for his ailment was not possible in Guyana or anywhere in the Caribbean, by the same medical officials who told him his life’s countdown had began.Fortunately for Ghanny, this was not true as the Cardiac surgeon, Dr Jerge Machin; Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Javier Almeida Gomes and Cardiac Anaesthetist Gabriel Avalos were able to conduct the surgery on the 27-year-old man.The surgery which was conducted on June 3, 2016, lasted some seven hours, and the patient remained in the hospital for nine days before he was discharged. Ghanny related his story electronically to the reporters who were present at a press conference hosted by the hospital on Friday.“He stayed in the hospital a total of 18 days. Some of that time was spent when we had to stabilise him, we had to take him off of some of the medication that was harming him, we had to put him on some medication that he needed. Once he was relatively stable, that’s when Dr Machin proceeded to do the interview with him,” Dr Madhu Singh highlighted.
The Public Health Ministry and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) is expected to finalise the essential medicine list for Guyana during an ongoing three-day meeting with stakeholders at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.PAHO/WHO Representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-KrowThe medicine list is updated every 2-3 years via a lengthy process through a pharmaceutical team with the aid of a standard treatment guideline developed by the Public Health Ministry or in some instances, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).The list is then supplied to the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry’s annual budget, as that being recommended for the Government to procure and make available for patients’ use.Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud explained that every year, newer and more effective agents are added and those that were found to be ineffective are removed.“Each year we add the newer and more effective agents but we also remove medicines that we find are ineffective that they might be for resistance developed against some form of antibiotic and we have done that or that a drug have found not to be as effective as we did in the past,” Persaud noted.Persaud further added that the list contains generic items which have been recommended globally by the World Health Organisation.A section of the gathering“The medicines are in their true form, they are also categorised by strength and by the preparation type whether it is liquids or tablets, capsules, topical application so there might be one pharmaceutical agent but they might be available in 5-6 different forms so it’s quite a long list but we are trying to keep the items generic, that means that we look at the pharmaceutical active component and we recommend the generic items which WHO have been recommending globally rather than to go for brand.”In his remarks, PAHO/WHO representative to Guyana, Dr William Adu-Krow noted that essential medicines are critical to the functioning of any health system, especially in Guyana.Dr Adu-Krow further deemed the list as being among things that are of national priority.“Essential medicines are intended to be available within the context of functioning health systems at all times, in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms with assured quality and adequate information and at a price that the individual and the community can afford” the PAHO/WHO representative added.Dr Adu-Krow added that “The implementation of the concept of essential medicines is intended to be flexible and adaptable to many different situations exactly which medicines are regarded as essential remains a national responsibility”.Regional advisers and consultants of WHO are currently leading the discussion in the finalisation of the Essential Medicine List. Regional health officers of the administrative regions, pharmacists, doctors and staff of the Material Management Unit and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation are among those participating in the three-day meeting.