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Country-Specific Resources

Bahamas flagGuyana

Location: South America
Population: 786,559 (2020)
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British Guiana became a Crown colony in 1928, and in 1953 it was granted home rule. In 1950, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham created the colony's first political party, which was dedicated to gaining independence. In 1961, Britain granted the colony autonomy, and Jagan became prime minister. Strikes and riots weakened Jagan’s rule. In 1964, Burnham succeeded Jagan as prime minister, a position he retained after the country gained full independence on May 26, 1966.  With independence, the country returned to its traditional name, Guyana. Guyana is now the only English-speaking country in South America.

Healthcare in Guyana is comprised of both a public and a private sector. There are 10 hospitals belonging to the private sector and to public corporations, plus diagnostic facilities, clinics, and dispensaries in those sectors. The ten hospitals provide for 548 beds. The Ministry of Public Health leads the public healthcare sector, which functions as a universal healthcare system for all citizens and residents of Guyana. The health sector is currently unable to offer certain sophisticated tertiary services and specialized medical services. Even with improvements in the health sector, the need for overseas treatment for some services remain. In 2013, the World Health Organization, in combination with Guyanese government agencies, created “Health Vision 2020,” a national health strategy enacted to improve the standard of living in Guyana. Since the creation of “Health Vision 2020”, there have been a decrease in malaria cases and an increase in life expectancy. While Guyana has managed to recruit more than 500 trained doctors and physicians over the last five years, shortages in the workforce exist in areas such as registered nurses, radiographers, medical technologists, and social workers.

The motivation for improvement of Guyana’s healthcare system was the HIV/AIDs crisis, which was difficult to manage because of the country’s insufficient healthcare system. Since then, however, healthcare in Guyana has improved substantially. Some of the most notable improvements to Guyana’s healthcare system include an increase in life expectancy, increased immunization coverage, and increased awareness surrounding health issues.

According to the National AIDS Program Secretariat, the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in Guyana has been reduced to 1% of the total population in 2009–2010, complying with the UNAIDS target of 1.3%. Research is revealing that there is a decrease in the number of persons being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Guyana. Research also showed that there has been a decrease in the rate of deaths from this disease.

COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Guyana, with 84 new infections reported on average each day. There have been 35,104 infections and 897 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began. Guyana has administered 610,721 doses of vaccines. Assuming every person needs 2 doses, about 39% of the country’s population has been vaccinated.

In 2019, the HCV prevalence rate in Guyana was 2.32%. There were 17,901 people living with HCV in 2019. Fifty-five (55) HÇV related deaths were reported in Guyana in 2019.

Learn More About the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 Situation in Guyana

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