The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will be providing a much-needed service by offering free glaucoma screenings throughout this week.This initiative was organised in commemoration of World Glaucoma Week, which runs from March 11-17.Usually, patients would have to have the recommendation of a physician or optometrist in order to be eligible for screenings at the eye clinic. However, for this week, the GPHC has made the service more easily accessed.The screening services will run from March 12 to March 16 at the GPHC’s Eye Clinic. The screenings are mainly open to citizens who are 40 years and over. An exception to this, younger persons who have blood relatives who have been diagnosed with glaucoma. The eye clinic plans on screening some 40 persons each day and screenings are inclusive of vision tests, eye pressure tests and nerve examinations.The GPHC has noted that the reason behind this particular initiative was the fact that many persons were not aware that they may have glaucoma.Also termed ‘invisible glaucoma’, the disease can be actively deteriorating a person’s optic nerve without them knowing or experiencing symptoms. Affected patients only usually go for a check-up after their vision has been affected.On the other hand, the GPHC will also be hosting a Glaucoma Continuing Medical Education (CME) Session. The collaborative effort, with Medi Pharm Inc, will aim to further educate medical practitioners, predominantly optometrists and nurses, on glaucoma diagnosis and treatment methods.Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. This damage usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front section of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. The most common type of glaucoma in Guyana is ‘open angle’. This type of glaucoma is painless and completely invisible to the patient. Patients will only become aware of the problem when their vision is affected. Open angle glaucoma predominantly affects Afro-Guyanese.
The administration of School of Nations has revealed that fees are likely to be increased in the near future. This would make School of Nations the second privately run school to hike its fees, after Mae’s Schools recently announced a similar move.This announcement was made by the Director of the institution, Dr Brian O’Toole, who explained that with the growing economy and increased costs of production and services, the need has arisen to implement the increase. The fees currently been charged are also considered very low when compared to other institutions.School of Nations“It’s likely that we will review the fees, because if we want the best possible education, we charge at the moment $1200 (US). In international terms, that’s a very low figure. We want to make sure we offer it to as wide a cross section as possible,” he stated.Dr O’Toole further explained that the fees would not be hiked to an extent that would force students of the institution to leave. If the fees are increased, the director assured, students will still be able to complete their studies.Dr O’Toole added, “We’re going to look at making it a balance between ensuring we can get the best quality and making sure that we respect the reality of the pockets of Guyana.”Recently, Mae’s Schools hiked their fees by 40 percent, despite the Government’s removal of the 14% Value Added Tax (VAT) on education during the 2018 budget. As such, parents are in disapproval of this sudden increase.Dr O’Toole has reiterated that the fees being requested at the School of the Nations will certainly not be as much as 40 percent, as consideration must be given to not only the individuals from whose pockets the monies are extracted, but also the school’s perspective that approximately 60 students are presently studying through a scholarship.“Nations is looking at it. We will not increase fees by the extent. We will not increase our fees by 40 percent. For all the fancy cars you see in the car park, we have other people that walk here, people that come by bicycle, and they have enriched the school and we want to make sure that they stay, so we certainly aren’t going to price them out of coming,” the director said.The institution has revealed that with the growing population of over 3000 students, the school is looking to establish other centres in the North West District and in the Rupununi, to assist the other regions.