Friday, December 3

Saturated hospitals, poorly vaccinated population: Guyana under strain

Saturated critical care beds, congested emergencies, exhausted staff … On Wednesday September 22, in Cayenne, representatives of the three hospitals in Guyana where 130 patients are currently admitted for Covid-19 including 31 severe cases, launched a cry of alarm in the face of the press. “For the past two weeks, there have been no more beds available at the West Guiana Hospital Center (CHOG), in pediatrics, in the maternity unit, in the general medicine department and especially in intensive care: this leads to stagnation of patients with emergency room “, testifies Dr. Crépin Kezza, head of emergencies and crisis director at the hospital of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. “We are keeping twenty to thirty patients for twelve observation beds, with a dozen Covid patients, of whom very often eight to ten are in intensive care”, he laments.

Faced with the saturation of other critical care capacities in the territory and the difficulty of transfers to Martinique, we must ” to make choices “, explains the doctor: the ethics committee of the establishment has been activated to decide who will go into intensive care, the Saint-Laurent hospital having only eight “sheave” beds. “When we became doctors, we didn’t do it to choose who should die or not”, asserts Doctor Kezza, who evokes a decision of this type.

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Since August 8, the start of the fourth wave due to the Delta variant, there have been 61 deaths in Guyana, including 21 in the last seven days, for 253 deaths since the start of the crisis, in a territory of nearly 300,000 inhabitants. “Guyana had never recorded so many deaths and admissions in intensive care” since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, alerted, Friday, September 24, the epidemiological bulletin of Public Health France. 98% of people who have died since the start of the third wave on March 22 were not vaccinated. Today, the incidence rate exceeds 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

“Break in confidence”

With a vaccination rate of 30% among those over 12, the director of CHOG talks about “Collective suicide”, at a time when the hospitals of Cayenne, Kourou and Saint-Laurent are facing strikes against the vaccine obligation. Doctor Kezza mentions a “Very significant reduction in paramedical staff: we need six nurses every day in the emergency room, we very often find ourselves at three”, some “Crisp, in tears, at the end of their service”. Hospital representatives call on the population to be vaccinated and rely on recourse to the health reserve and medical evacuations.

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