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Guyana Government to assist children stranded in India
-willing to foot the outstanding bill
THE GOVERNMENT has expressed its deep concern over the fate of a number of Guyanese children said to be stranded in a Chennai hospital in India because their warden couldn’t meet the hospital bill, and President Jagdeo had instructed that no stone be left unturned in seeing their safe return home.

The following is a statement from Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, whom the President has so instructed, and whom he has charged with the responsibility of seeing to it that they get here post haste.

“The Government of Guyana is extremely concerned over the issue of a number of children being stranded in India over the non-payment for services at the Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai, India.

As Minister of Health, I today spoke with the President of Guyana, His Excellency Bharat Jagdeo, who expressed deep concern that children have been taken to India without complete arrangements being made to ensure their costs have been met.

The President has instructed that I take all necessary actions to ensure the children can return home without further delay, and that the Ministry of Health must put arrangements in place to prevent another such occurrence.

The Government of Guyana is taking immediate steps to ensure that these children return home without further trauma.

The Government of Guyana will meet the outstanding charges to the Hospital, so that the children and their families would not have to suffer further humiliation and trauma.

As Minister of Health, we request all persons who agree to go with individuals and organizations in the future to contact us so that we can verify that all arrangements are in place for such services that they are going for.

The Ministry of Health will not support any organization or any individual with funds to leave Guyana unless they can verify with us that they have all the remaining funds to complete all arrangements for services in the countries they are traveling to.

The Ministry notes that some of the children stranded in India had made requests to the Guyana Government for support and received such support.

This is the second time that the Ministry of Health has had to pay outstanding bills for children who have been taken out of the country for medical attention, even though the Government has provided support for some of the children.

The Government of Guyana provided more than $93M last year for medical attention not provided in the public health sector in Guyana. Many of the children and adults who have traveled abroad for medical attention, including many who have traveled with Kids First Fund, have received support from Government.

We are saddened that some of these organizations seek to present a different story and give the impression that the Government is not assisting. On the contrary, significant support for most of the children is provided by Government.

The Minister of Health has been in touch with the High Commissioner of Guyana to India, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, and has requested that he conclude all arrangements with the hospital to ensure the children return home without further delay and without any further humiliation. The Government of Guyana will meet any outstanding financial obligation.

The Minister of Health is advising all families who have children in India as part of the contingent of children who are presently being delayed at the Frontier Lifeline Hospital to get in touch with the Ministry of Health.

He is assuring all the families that the President and the Government of Guyana will ensure that the children return home immediately.”

Sunday, June 28, 2009