Trip to Guyana 2018
Updated: Jul 9
The Canadian team completed another successful trip to Guyana in May 2018. This year, the Canadian team consisted of both board members and non-board members. Our team consisted of highly motivated individuals from diverse disciplines, including family medicine, psychiatry, and rehabilitation therapy. We were also fortunate to have an award-winning Canadian author join us on this trip.
Given current statistics (see reference below), addressing mental health issues, including the high suicide rate, continue to be a priority in Guyana. The majority of our work-related activities during this trip were carried-out at Georgetown Hospital in Guyana. The primary objective of this trip was for the Canadian and Guyanese teams to work together and exchange knowledge and experiences in order to better serve the local community. The Canadian and Guyanese teams worked very well together.
The Georgetown Hospital Corporation had sent a vehicle to the airport to pick up the Canadian team. Once again, the Canadian team received a warm welcome upon arrival. The Canadian team settled into a local hotel, and began to immediately prepare for the upcoming workday. On our first day, the Department Head of Psychiatry at Georgetown Hospital introduced us to the fantastic Guyanese team, which consisted of a group of psychiatrists, residents, medical students, nurses, and administrative staff. The Canadian team started the morning by participating in inpatient rounds, followed by a busy outpatient clinic. The Canadian team then facilitated case-based/problem-based learning with medical students, residents, and psychiatrists.
Over the course of the trip, Canadian team members participated in doing consultations based on their area of practice. The Canadian team worked alongside the Guyanese team in order to identify topics of interest for teaching. The Canadian team facilitated the following collaborative teaching sessions with residents and medical students:
Patient-related case-based learning , which included the following: 1) importance of taking a good history, 2) methodologically sound approach to making a diagnosis, 3) exploring the approach to prescribing medications, and 4) establishing evidence-based treatment protocols
Psychiatric conditions and cognitive function, including distinguishing between delirium and dementia
Functional outcomes, occupational therapy, and quality of life in persons diagnosed with mental health issues
Canadian team members who worked in Guyana previously recognized the benefits and sustainability of their collaboration with the Guyanese team, including improved knowledge regarding psychiatric conditions and strengthened relationships between clinicians and patients. As a team, we hope to work together to address ongoing challenges associated with infrastructure and limited resources (e.g., types of restraints). There are ongoing conversations about the renewal of the ETC program, case-based learning, teaching sessions and seminars, and student field placements. The relationship between the Canadian and Guyanese teams continues to strengthen. Both the Canadian and Guyanese team are optimistic about future collaboration. The work-related component of our trip concluded with a formal group dinner organized by our host, the Department Head of Psychiatry at Georgetown Hospital. It was a great honor to work alongside the Guyanese team. We are truly grateful for their warm and welcoming nature, and the opportunity to work together to address the important area of mental health.
In addition to spending time at the Georgetown Hospital, members of the Canadian team visited a number of other sites, including the National Psychiatric Hospital, private hospitals, public and private geriatric residence homes (long-term care facilities) , correctional facilities and prisons. In these settings, the Canadian team had productive discussions with staff members about quality of life, taking a client history, exploring medical conditions and physical limitations, and the importance of compassion and establishing rapport with individuals.
The Canadian team also enjoyed sightseeing in Guyana. We visited the botanical gardens, the zoo, etc. We had the opportunity to visit the hometown of one of our board members, where we received a warm welcome and enjoyed a fantastic traditional Guyanese meal.
The Canadian team would like to take this opportunity to thank our very generous donors. Mental Health Without Borders was able to develop 30 mental health kits for distribution. Our mental health kits include a stress ball, ear plugs, and mini-self-help manual with a key ring. We hope to continue working with the Guyanese team. Our long-term collaborations with other countries would not be possible without the continued support of our donors.
University of Washington, Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2018, http://www.healthdata.org/guyana
Board Members, Drs. Sonia Gulati & Sujay Patel, on behalf of the Canadian Team