(GUYANACHRONICLE)GUYANA’S health sector is rapidly being transformed, and a draft of a new public health act is being developed to support this overhaul.
This was revealed by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, on Tuesday, while he was delivering remarks at the launch of the sixth edition of the Family Health Manual at the Ministry’s headquarters.
During his address, he noted that, since entering office, the government has constantly been updating the country’s legislation to fit into the modernisation that is taking place across many sectors.
Over the last year or so, he stated that the government, more specifically his ministry, has been working on new omnibus legislation for the country’s public health sector.
“One of the things we have been working on over the last year or so is a new legislation that deals with public health. We have old public health ordinances that are totally outdated,” the Minister said.
While he highlighted the coming legislation, it can be noted that Guyana’s health sector is currently governed by the Public Health Ordinance of 1934, which since its assent has not been updated.
However, he added, “So we are now writing legislation to deal with public health and it’s going to be an omnibus legislation, meaning that it would cover every aspect of public health. It would affect various sectors and we have been working with those sectors.”
Currently, the Minister indicated that for the draft just around nine chapters have already been done, and the health ministry will continue working with a team from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to be able to conclude the draft piece of legislation.
Since entering office, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, in previous reports, have told the Guyana Chronicle that it is necessary for the piece of ‘archaic’ legislation to be updated.
In a 2021 interview with this newspaper, Nandlall stated that the public health ordinance was outmoded and unfitting to reflect the current realities of society and since then a new public health act was being formulated.
At that time, he was quoted as saying, “Guyana’s public health infrastructure is radically different from what it was in 1934, and the COVID-19 pandemic has graphically revealed how almost dysfunctional the law is.”
However, upon completion of the drafting of the new public health act, consultations are expected to follow with it then being tabled in parliament, debated and subsequently passed.