Charity fights Guyana infant mortality

With one third of child deaths in Guyana resulting from respiratory distress or bacterial infection in the first few weeks of life, Dr. Narendra Singh, founder and president of Guyana Help The Kids (GHTK) and his team, have their work cut out for them.
The registered Canadian charity was called “an iconic organization” recently by Guyana’s Minister of Health Dr. George Norton as they continued to implement neonatal intensive care methods in their work to save lives of babies with respiratory distress.
Norton admitted the number of babies that die per month is alarmingly high, mostly because of infection.

Dr. Narendra Singh, left, with a graduating student being congratulated in the Guyana Help The Kids program.
Dr. Narendra Singh, left, with a graduating student being congratulated in the Guyana Help The Kids program.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.”
Singh, director of the pediatric postgraduate program at the University of Guyana, was there for the graduation of four pediatricians and nine nurses. GHTK Ambassador Ryan Hinds, formerly of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was also on hand to visit the pediatrics ward at Georgetown Public Hospital.
Singh, who sees their work as a shared vision with Guyana’s Ministry of Health, told The Camera, “We intend to significantly decrease neonatal mortality by empowering Guyanese healthcare providers through education and technology which will ensure sustainability.
“We have been successful in decreasing the neonatal mortality at Georgetown Public Hospital by 40% in our first year.”
Faculty members from University of Toronto, McMaster University and other universities in North America have been travelling monthly to provide didactic and bedside teaching in keeping with the uniquely developed curriculum at the University of Guyana.
Singh said GHTK must evaluate the ongoing processes objectively to ensure the benefit of these various interventions. “Aside from the impact on infant mortality we are embarking on other specific research projects, the first to include the impact of an infection-control policy on the incidence of nosocomial infections and mortality at the hospital.”
He noted that with the Ministry of Health of Guyana as a partner, GHTK received a $350,000 Grand Challenge Canada grant to augment $250,000 from its own resources for equipment, education and support to physicians and staff to improve the survival rate of high-risk neonates in Guyana.
Thanks to the GHTK team, there is now an advanced level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Georgetown Public Hospital and level 2 units at the five network hospitals, which account for more than 80% of all deliveries in the nation.
Singh thanked their sponsors for their fundraising dinner and dance events, including Kissoon Annual Charity Golf Tournament, International Development and Relief Foundation, IDFR, Brampton Flower City Centennial Rotary Club and Neotech Products.
Singh, Humber River Hospital’s chief of pediatrics, has treated children there since 1997. He is also an associate clinical professor at the University of McMaster and at U of T.
Singh and his team are asking that persons with expertise in nursing, medical, biomedical or respiratory care volunteer their services to GHTK or volunteer at their fundraising events. Donations are also welcome for specific projects such as the Pediatrics Ward Project or to their ongoing online Fundraiser: My Dizolve.
Call 647-559-6293 for more information.
Funds will help supply incubators, neonatal ventilators, patient monitors, infant warmers, consumable medical supplies and support training programs for doctors and nurses in order to fulfill GHTK’s mandate to reduce the infant mortality in Guyana.