Guyana receiving help from Argentina to strengthen local Blood banking system

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Three medical personnel from the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) will be heading to Argentina on August 23 to partake capacity building exercises focused on Quality Management and Control in the area of blood banking.

These human resource capacity building exercises, which will take place at the Garrahan Hospital in Argentina, represents phase two of a three year programme which falls within the framework of the South-South Cooperation Agreement between the two South American Nations.

Acting Director of the NBTS, Dr. Pedro Lewis will be spending 2 weeks in Argentina, while Quality Manager, Ms. Davina Singh and Donor Organiser, Ms. Tonza Bamfield will be spending one week.

Speaking at a press conference in the Ministry of Public Health’s boardroom today, Argentine Ambassador, Luis Martino explained that the overall aim of the programme is to improve the blood safety levels in Guyana by building and strengthening human capacity, knowledge and technology.

Phase one of the programme saw Dr. Ana Del Pozo, who has a strong background in the blood services sector; and Dr. Sebastian Oknaian, an expert in quality control in blood transfusion visiting Guyana in 2013 and in December, 2015.

Ambassador Martino informed that upon the completion of the first phase, the experts shared with him that they detected many strengths at the NBTS.

According to him, this upcoming phase will now allow the participants to have a first-hand view of the procedures and standards at the Garahang Hospital. This will, in his view, help in the development of a plan for ongoing capacity building in all the regions with a blood banking presence.

The third phase will entail a visit by the Argentine team to Guyana in December of this year, followed by the continuation of training for the three NBTS medical personnel in 2017.

Ambassador Martino said that if all goes well with the three year programme, they are ready and willing to broaden the scope of the South-South Cooperation in health beyond blood transfusion to other areas such as medicine.

Meanwhile, Acting Director of the NBTS, Dr. Pedro Lewis, explained that the NBTS has already been able to improve its services due to the visits by the consultants during the first phase of the programme. Areas which have been improved include blood management and the collection of statistics.

He thanked Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton as well as Ambassador Martino for the capacity building opportunities presented to him and his colleagues

Ms. Singh and Ms. Bamfield also expressed gratitude for the opportunity and both stressed the importance of the work that they do at the NBTS.

They spoke of the importance of the capacity building exercises and assured that they will grasp all of the knowledge and experience that they can in Argentina, so that they can share such with their colleagues in the other regions.

In addition to the NBTS in the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) compound, Guyana also has a blood banking presence at the Suddie Regional Hospital, West Demerara Regional Hospital, New Amsterdam Regional Hospital and the Linden Hospital Complex.

Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton expressed gratitude to the Argentine Government for their technical support in the implementation of the programme.

He stressed that the Ministry of Public Health is working assiduously to improve health care Services in General.

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