Your guide to Guyana’s healthcare system and private health insurance
Whether you are a traveler or an expat planning to work or stay in Guyana, this exclusive short guide from Pacific Prime will breakdown everything you need to know about the country’s healthcare system and illustrate the importance of securing international private health insurance. Read on to learn more, or obtain a no-obligation, free quote below.
Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is located along the Atlantic Ocean, on the Northeast coast of Latin America. The country shares a border with Suriname to the East, Venezuela to the Northwest, and Brazil to the South and Southwest. Guyana lies near the equator and the climate of the country is warm and tropical, with high humidity and rainfall for most of the year.
The country is full of fascinating and breathtaking natural beauty, unspoiled tropical rainforests, majestic waterfalls, amazing biodiversity, along with exciting native culture, rich heritage, and some of the most welcoming and friendly people in the world. The capital city and main port of Guyana is Georgetown, which is located up-river from the coast.
Healthcare system in Guyana
The healthcare system in Guyana consists of both the public and private sector:
The public sector in Guyana
The government of Guyana operates a healthcare system that is universal and can be accessed by every citizen and resident. The Ministry of Public Health is responsible for the effective operation and distribution of Guyana’s public healthcare system. This includes establishing regulations, determining national health policies, developing legislation, building healthcare facilities, and to ensure that the provision of healthcare services meet a reasonable standard. The Government of Guyana primarily financed public healthcare services.
Healthcare services and treatments provided by public hospitals are generally free of charge, however, there are a few services and private room accommodations that would require patients to make the out of pocket payment.
Levels of healthcare in Guyana
Healthcare services in the public sector are split into five levels depending on the facilities and level of care available, namely:
- Level 1 - health posts,
- Level 2 - health centers,
- Level 3 - district hospitals,
- Level 4 - regional hospitals,
- Level 5 - referral hospitals.
Levels 1 and 2 provide mainly preventive care and focus only on simple curative care for common diseases, these tend to be staffed by community health workers or nurses and nursing assistants. Most of the health posts and health centers are located in the rural areas of the country and primarily serve the healthcare needs of the poor.
There are around 10 regional hospitals, 22 district hospitals, 70 health centers, 4 Regional Hospitals, 32 Health Posts, and one psychiatric hospital, that make up the public healthcare sector.
The private sector in Guyana
Private medical care is also available in Guyana. There are a few private hospitals located within the capital city, such as St Joseph Mercy Hospital. The private sector is responsible for their own financing and patients are required to pay for any services rendered either from out-of-pocket payments or through private health insurance plans.
Given that Guyana is one of the poorest countries in Southern America, only a small group of the population can afford to pay for healthcare treatment in the private healthcare sector.
Standard of healthcare in Guyana
Overall, the standard of healthcare in Guyana is far from the standards offered by Western countries. People living in rural areas have limited or no access to physicians and hospital treatments. There is a shortage of nurses in Guyana in rural locations and salaries of medical staff are generally very low.
Insufficient resources and poor quality equipment
The medical tools and equipment in public hospitals are often outdated, and Guyana cannot afford the cost of new technology and supplies required for diagnosis and treatments.
Other factors that affect the quality of healthcare delivery include poor medical facilities and poor sanitation at healthcare facilities.
Communicable (infectious) diseases in Guyana
Guyana is regarded as a yellow-fever infected zone and malaria is also epidemic in the region. Dengue fever and chikungunya are also prevalent in rural areas and even urban areas like Georgetown. The Zika virus is also present in Guyana, which makes visiting the country, a high risk for pregnant women.
It is best the take the following vaccinations and precautions to protect against contracting the infections and diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Secure international health insurance to access private healthcare abroad
It is often advised that patients go elsewhere for serious medical treatment that is of higher quality, such as Argentina and Mexico
In this instance, international private health insurance would be especially useful, as it would cover the costly price of medical evacuation in the event of an emergency evacuation.
How to secure the best private health insurance in Guyana
It can be a challenging task to find the best private health insurance policy in Guyana. One of the best decisions expats or travelers can make is to consult an experienced insurance broker, like Pacific Prime.
With almost two decades of experience matching expats with the most optimal health insurance solutions on the market, Pacific Prime leverages its close partnerships with all major insurers and has an extensive portfolio of all the best plans. In addition to having the best health insurance policies, Pacific Prime also offers unparalleled service and outstanding claims support.