President Dr. Irfaan Ali (second from right), Education Minister Priya Manickchand (right), Advisor to the Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy (left) and the Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Madhu Singh share a light moment while examining the 128-slice CT scanner (Photo: Delano Williams/ March 18, 2023)

The Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital in Georgetown on Saturday opened Guyana’s first fully-automated histopathology laboratory, replete with an advanced 128-slice computed tomography (CT) scan machine.

According to the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Madhu Singh, about US$3 million to $3.5 million were invested in the equipment and facilities.

And she explained to reporters that the histopathology laboratory, in particular, is set to benefit practically all of the patients seeking medical care from the privately-owned hospital since its services promise more accurate, timely diagnoses to the hundreds of patients that receive care daily.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali tours the hospital’s histopathology laboratory (Photo: Delano Williams/ March 18, 2023)

Speaking at the launching ceremony held at the hospital on Saturday, Dr. Singh said the hospital’s integration of newer technologies helps to bring modern services, akin to those offered in developed nations, to Guyana.

“It will revolutionise the way we approach diagnostics and testing,” she said.

For context, a histopathology laboratory offers numerous services including assessments of the heart, chest pains and other internal concerns. Dr. Singh said it can improve cancer diagnosis and care, too.

Meanwhile, a 128-slice CT scanner allows healthcare professionals to get better quality, three-dimensional (3D) images of a patient as compared to the average CT scanner.

And according to President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, such investments in much-needed, specialised medical services are helping to position Guyana “ahead of the game”.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali joined officials from the hospital to unveil the new complex housing the histopathology laboratory and the 128-slice CT scanner (Photo: Delano Williams/ March 18, 2023)

These investments, according to the Head of State, are a result of a carefully-crafted plan of his government to stimulate investments in private healthcare locally.

That plan includes tax-breaks and other incentives for investments in healthcare, the modernisation of laws governing the field and training large tranches of healthcare workers to satisfy local needs and demands.

And he highlighted that private companies, like the Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital, are responsive to the policy direction and emphasis placed on improving local healthcare. Such investments, Dr. Ali posited, will complement public sector investments and attract foreign attention.

“We made it very clear that the public healthcare system must support the private sector… (and) the private healthcare must be able to deliver specialised care.

“When we get to this level of healthcare, we are no longer saying healthcare for Guyanese, it must attract international traffic,” the President emphasised.