In 1992 the Association conducted a major educational mission to Guyana. This was a catalyst for the establishment of The Guyana Cancer Society from which has now sprung the statutory Guyana Cancer Board. Other lasting ties have been established between AGNAP and healthcare bodies in Guyana, some of which are mentioned below.
AGNAP has also played a vital part and given support to Mrs Gwen Tross in the establishment of the BSc and MSc nursing courses now available at The University of Guyana. To support nursing clinical development and excellence at Degree level, there is now The AGNAP AWARD, whilst at hospital level there is AGNAP’s Tryphæna Todd Award for students of the nursing schools of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, The Charles Rosa School at Linden and the New Amsterdam Hospital Nursing School.
Services and agencies included in AGNAP’s present and future programmes of help and support include:
The Beacon Foundation [cancer/palliative care]
AGNAP has long supported the home hospice service operated by this foundation. Its team of three palliative care nurses, one of whom trained in the UK through AGNAP’s brokerage,, provides home hospice care throughout Guyana: the only organisation to do so. AGNAP empathises with this philosophy and has long maintained an annual donation to help with the purchase of medications, including essential palliatives, for this service. It is now over ten years since its president, Claremont Lye wrote, “The extent of AGNAP’s involvement has ensured that almost every Beacon hospice patient dies without pain. This cannot be overstated.” Since the service now has access to more efficient palliatives, AGNAP has now increased its annual subvention.
The Periwinkle Club [cancer/palliative care]
Support to this voluntary organization continues. A caring mother, who lost her daughter to cancer and who benefitted from the support and counselling of services in the UK, approached AGNAP to help establish a similar service in Guyana. Hence AGNAP’s partnership with the Periwinkle Club and the creation of “Donna’s Room”, where counselling and complementary therapy is offered to cancer sufferers, family and carers.
Above, The Periwinkle Club logo, Donna Sage (after whom Donna’s Room is named)
In2010-2011 through the activities of AGNAP’s volunteer palliative care nurse, Ann Read, the importance of outreach palliative care was highlighted (see her story on another page of this booklet). Closely allied to this is Periwinkle’s aim of public education in prevention and early recognition of cancer. This too is in line with AGNAP philosophy and thus ensures that its support in all aspects of Periwinkle’s activities will continueg in the form of monetary donations and provision of clinical professional training in palliative care, counselling and education in cancer prevention.
According to a recent report, courtesy of the Guyana Cancer Registry, all of Guyana’s “six peoples” are at equal risk of developing cancer. The age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer peaks in their late 70s, whereas for women with cervical and breast cancers it is at a considerably earlier age. Of these three types of cancer alone, more than 700 people died in Guyana between Jan. 2006 and Dec. 2010. AGNAP feels that these statistics and the high morbidity figures together justify the high priority it gives to support for cancer healthcare in its homeland.
The Guyana Sickle Cell and Thalassæmia Association
To date AGNAP has facilitated training in the UK of seven GSCTA healthcare professionals. In accordance with UN policy, AGNAP will continue to help with the development of this fledgling organization through clinical training and updating of its practitioners both in the UK and Guyana. Professional training in the UK will be provided through the Commonwealth Professional Scholarship Scheme.
The Midwifery Service
Since its inception, AGNAP has made donations of equipment large and small to this service and is at present examining how it can offer more clinical expertise in this area of care For the future, practising and recently retired members of the Association together with a UK-based practising midwifery consultant can have expressed their interest in volunteering their services to Guyana.
The General Nursing Council, Guyana
From AGNAP’s inception it has been of ad hoc assistance to the GNCG. It donated the embossing seal used to authenticate the Council’s nursing certificates – and a replacement when this was lost in the great fire which destroyed their Georgetown office. In addition to the donation of office equipment, computer, refrigerator etc, AGNAP has from time to time brokered the replenishment of nursing and midwifery badges for the council and indeed was pleased to commission its new psychiatric mental health badge (shown here) from Thos. Fattorini of Birmingham.
The Children’s Wards of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and Linden Hospital Complex
AGNAP has continued to maintain yearly shipments to the “Toy and Book Library” that it established ten years ago in Georgetown Public Hospital in order to provide play therapy for the patients of the children’s wards, and it is currently in negotiation with the management of Linden Hospital Complex for the establishment of a similar library for the children’s ward at that location. AGNAP is also seeking to restore the practice of its members and the Friends of PHGC in Guyana of holding library sessions where members sat at the children’s bedsides, read the books to them and played with them with the toys that AGNAP supplied.
The University of Guyana, BSc and MSc nursing degree courses and The Schools of Nursing in Guyana.
For many years AGNAP has provided annual financial awards to the graduands of the BSc Nursing Degree course at the University of Guyana and of Guyana’s three schools of nursing. This is done with the aim of stimulating competition and, with it, clinical excellence, which should lead to better clinical knowledge and more efficient patient care. This support and the award of “The AGNAP Cup” and “Tryphaena Todd Award” will continue. Regarding the MSc course, in order to stimulate research in the field of nursing, the “Lois Ramphal Bursary” was created by AGNAP, and this will continue. AGNAP also continues to encourage those of its UK members and affiliates who are still practising tutors to seek such work in Guyana. It takes pride in the successful efforts of its member in Guyana, Mrs Gendoline Tross, to establish BSc and MSc Nursing degree courses at the University of Guyana.
The Guyana Nurses’ Association
From AGNAP’s very inception it has supported the GNA, which is itself now eighty-five years old and was the first organisation of its kind in the Caribbean/Atlantic area. This support takes many forms, from funding repairs to its headquarters building, monetary subventions and payment to international nursing bodies on its behalf. It is through such memberships that the GNA is able to participate in regional and international conferences and conventions, thus keeping itself and its members in tune with changing nursing theories and practice and other healthcare-related challenges of the 21st Century. AGNAP is pledged to continue to support the GNA in embarking upon projects and activities further to improve the status of nurses in Guyana.
Physiotherapy services of PHGC.
Again, from AGNAP’s inception, it has supported this unit of the Public Hospital in the form of equipment comprising TENS machines, wheelchairs, zimmer frames and other walking aids. AGNAP also sends regular shipments of professional journals, enabling staff members to maintain their commitment to continued professional development.
It is hoped that the foregoing will help to give some idea AGNAP’s willingness and the scope of what it can at present offer to healthcare clinical development and practice. Through the Commonwealth Professional Scholarship Scheme, AGNAP is willing to support healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, therapists etc. who may wish to develop their knowledge and expertise in their particular area of clinical practice. It is also willing to give support to the government of Guyana, especially in the area of chronic diseases, in helping to pursue its strategy.. Although its members are mainly retired persons, they possess vast clinical experience in management, midwifery, school health, psychiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, paediatrics, health visiting, child abuse protection, geriatrics, stoma and wound care, diabetes and many other specialities, rendering AGNAP a potential treasury of on-tap resources.
Imperative to the support that AGNAP can give to these projects is the dedicated partnership and cooperation of key stakeholders such as the Government of Guyana [Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs] and the administrators of the respective projects and charities. This collaborative working can result in the expansion and clinical development of these respective healthcare agencies, projects and areas of care which can only ultimately work for the benefit of the people of Guyana.
The above are but a few of examples of AGNAP’s activities over the years, which serve to give a birds-eye view of its scope and also to give some idea of its more direct present support and involvement. Additionally, AGNAP has long been a resource for donations of cash and kind to many charities and other health-oriented organizations in Guyana.