Government dramatically increases medical aid allowance

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved $863.6 million to continue the government’s medical assistance program.

According to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, the allocation has increased by $399 million from last year. He explained that while 1,538 people have received government medical assistance, that number is expected to increase significantly as the program expands.

Providing a breakdown of the allocation, Dr Anthony said $400 million has been allocated for patients who need heart procedures, $60 million for those who need computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and $12 million for patients who need prostheses.

“What we’re doing here is the program where we provide assistance to patients who need such assistance… We’ve also put an additional $70 million under this heading to help people who need radiation. We have allocated $18 million for cross-matching kidney transplant patients. These are patients receiving a kidney, but we need to cross-match. We’ve allocated $20 million for eye care patients who need specialized eye operations…there’s $103 million for patients who would need help with other illnesses and those are mostly patients we send overseas,” the minister told the committee.

Additionally, he said $180 million has been allocated to provide dialysis patients with $600,000 a year to cover part of their treatment costs.

During his presentation of the 2022 budget, Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh announced the $600,000 government grant.

“…this country currently has hundreds of people on continuous treatment for life-threatening illnesses. A good example is the number of people currently receiving dialysis treatment, many of whom are young and still in their prime, but who often struggle to meet the cost of their treatment. To this end, we will introduce a dialysis support program where we will fund up to $600,000 per year of dialysis treatment for each dialysis patient in Guyana. This program will provide much-needed assistance to nearly 300 people at a cost of $180 million,” he said.