Guyana, the first country in the Caribbean region to receive courtesy call from the PAHO Assistant Director, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, 8-11 April 2024.


GEORGETOWN, GUYANA- 12 APRIL 2024- PAHO’s Assistant Director, Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, recently visited Guyana from 8-11 April and met with the Guyana Country Office and other agencies, marking her first stop in a tour of the Caribbean region. She was accompanied by Dr. Heidi Ullman, Technical Advisor in the AD OfficeDuring her visit, she engaged with staff during a meeting held at the Guyana Marriott, where they discussed the achievements, challenges, and future directions of the BWP.

The AD met with UN agencies at the UN House to discuss the technical cooperation the UN is providing to the Government of Guyana and to understand the country’s socio-economic situation, the challenges, and the possibilities for integrated work within the UN System. The Resident Coordinator, Ms. Yesim Oruc highlighted the fast growth and development of the country, and the challenges the country encounters in relation to equity and access in all the sectors.

Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, Assistant Director to the Pan American Health Organization visited the Ministry of Health and paid a courtesy call to Dr Frank Anthony, Minister of Health at the Brickdam Headquarters. Mutual interest and opportunities of both organizations were discussed to pave the way for the continuation of technical support to strengthen healthcare in Guyana.

Dr.Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, PAHO Assistant Director in photo opt with Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Health and other officials.

As part of her visit, the AD participated in the launch of the Ministry of Health National Mental Health Action Plan and National Suicide Prevention Plan 2024-2030 which was developed with technical support from PAHO. The Ministry of Health also developed the National Mental Protection and Promotion Bill of 2022 and the Suicide Prevention Act of 2022. The AD congratulated the Ministry of Health on behalf of the PAHO Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa for achieving this milestone that will transform the country.
The plan aims to prevent mental disorders, improve mental health literacy, and enhance mental health information systems. It will also help to revitalize the mental health and suicide laws in the country.

“PAHO\WHO assisted us in doing an analysis and having done that analysis we laid the foundation for this current plan that we have now. While doing that we were able to enhance the mental health environment because when we look at the laws, they were quite outdated,” said Minister Anthony.
The action plan will also involve greater collaboration with the private sector, as new services will be introduced within the community and schools to raise further awareness about mental health and suicide.

Dr. Sealey-Thomas also took the opportunity to meet with Georgetown Public Hospital Officials and viewed a presentation on the collaborative work done with PAHO/WHO. A demonstration of the SIP program was shown to the AD during her walk-through of the Hospital, and she had discussions with health professionals who use the program.

Nurse Krammer giving AD a demonstration of the SIP patient care software.

“We find the software extremely useful and easy, and it helps to reduce all the paperwork. However, it would help a great lot if the software could be upgraded to include other fields that are important to us, said Nurse Wilma Krammer.

Ms. Jaundoo, Health Information Manager went further to explain the process of patient registration in the SIP program and alluded to it being an incredibly good program for the extraction of data to complete reports.

AD toured the Pathology Lab and was impressed with the process and the upgraded equipment the hospital has.

Shortly after meeting with the Maternal and Child Health personnel, Dr. Sealey-Thomas met with the Organ transplant team at GPHC. The AD expressed her satisfaction with the progress Guyana made from mid-two thousand to the present.

“I am impressed with the progress Guyana made in the organ plantation progress. You did not stop but kept going to improve this process. The presentation this morning showed the amount of work you have done and how far you are, and that is commendable.”

Dr. Sealey also took the opportunity to meet with the IDB representative, Dr. Lorena Solorzano, and discussed the economic situation of the country, the bi-lateral agreements with country, and the results that the IDB of those agreements, specifically in the health sector, focusing on the construction of the four new hospitals. The AD said that the country and the Ministry of Health must consider developing primary health care, digital health, supply chain, and the health workforce. This workforce will manage to integrate all the primary health care network. AD was also provided with a wider perspective beyond the construction of the infrastructure, focusing on the operation of the system.

PAHO pledges its unwavering commitment and technical support to the Ministry of Health and the Government of Guyana for the successful implementation of programs that impact public health. 

Dr. Jaundoo providing demonstration of the SIP registration process.
Dr. Padmini Singh providing a brief explanation of the SIP software.
Ms. Mirissa Chandrabose, Manager of the Pathology Lab at the GPHC, give the AD a short tour of the Pathology Lab
Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas presented Minister Frank Anthony with a copy of the National Mental Health Action Plan and the National Suicide Prevention Plan 2024-2030
Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, PAHO Assistant Director with Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation Team.
Dr. Swan explaining her work as part of the Organ Transplantation team at the GPHC.