Visiting doctors perform 8 life-changing surgeries on children this week.
We were deeply heartened to receive so much coverage in the local media about our March Visit to Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana.
Guyana is a new country for Gift of Life International and, as is always the case, many things have to fall into place in order for the Visit to be a success.
A total of eight life-changing open heart surgeries were performed between March 18th to 29th by our team of visiting medical professionals from Gift of Life at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed between the Georgetown Public Hospital, Guyana Programme for Advanced Cardiac and Gift of Life for a collaborative effort to treat pediatric cardiac patients in Guyana.
Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robbie Rambarran shared on March 20th, “We are projecting to have two surgeries per day. Everything is going good so far. We are here to make this a success.”
He continues, “It’s also helping us in capacity building, training our nurses, doctors and all our staff. The biomedical department has received so many training over the last week. It has been huge and I can see everybody is very passionate about delivering this programme.”
Post-operative care will also be provided, for which 17 nurses and nine doctors have already been trained.
“Most of the surgical interventions are done by overseas doctors, so our staff were trained on how they will screen the patient before.
Most importantly, after the surgery, is the care that you are going to receive. The surgeons can do a perfect job, but if they don’t get that care, it defeats the purpose. That’s the intention of this mission; to build capacity,” the GPHC CEO identified.While the Government has been making sizable injections into healthcare delivery, capacity building and human resources have remained a challenge.
According to Head of Paediatrics, Dr Tarik Davidson, there are more than 100 persons with congenital heart defects requiring surgical intervention.
“Improvements in our healthcare system means that we’re diagnosing more patients, patients are surviving for longer and thus, that list of patients continues to expand. This is just the first step in a series of steps that needs to be taken to address that backlog of patients that are there,” he told local media.
The mission was made possible by Gift of Life International and the Guyana Programme to Advance Cardiac Care (GPACC). Gift of Life CEO Rob Raylman was proud to share that they have been working in 80 countries, and have now treated over 46,000 children worldwide.
“The investment that this government has shown in developing a programme to care for their children is exceptional. The support from the hospital, doctors, and nurses is exceptional. It is the Government and the hospital that are the reason that we’re here today,” Raylman shared.
In the coming months, there will be enhanced coordination to have other visits to aid in clearing the backlog of children awaiting surgery. The GPHC is planning to have another mission in Guyana by December to handle some of the existing cases.
Brenda Small is the Operations Consultant at Gift of Life International. She assumed this role in 2012.
Brenda was inspired to help children in need with heart disease after her third child was born with a complex heart defect and underwent successful open-heart surgery in her first year of life. Brenda learned of Gift of Life International in 2006 at which time she established Gift of Life Los Angeles where she holds the position of President. Between 2008 and 2012, Brenda volunteered her time to help with Gift of Life International in addition to running Gift of Life Los Angeles.
From 2012 to 2022, Brenda held the position of Director of Operations for Gift of Life International. Today, she continues this lifesaving work as Operations Consultant. Brenda also implemented the Nutritional Program in El Salvador in 2008 which has now provided nutritional support to more than 250 children and their families. Brenda has traveled with many of the Gift of Life training teams and witnessed these precious lives being saved.