Indian Diaspora Council

GTHK Announces Expansion Plans to Save Babies

October 18, 2018 Toronto: Guyana Help the Kids’ (GTHK) President, Dr Narendra Singh, announced at the organization’s festive Havana Nights fundraising dinner and dance on Saturday, October 13, 2018, at the Woodbine Banquet Hall in Toronto, plans to expand GTHK’s charitable operation from its current focus on Guyana to the Eastern Caribbean region and then globally. As a result, the logo was revised and presented to reflect their global expansion ambition. The event was attended by almost 600 supporters, benefactors and well-wishers of GTHK’s innovative and successful life-saving neonatal care program that transformed Guyana’s neonatal care facilitation with impressive infant mortality reductions since its launch.

Dr Singh, a Guyanese born practising pediatrician in Toronto, visited the neonatal ward at the Georgetown Hospital in 2007 and was emotionally moved by his observation of the substandard care and facilitation for the new-borns. The prevailing inadequate primary infant care conditions were a key factor, which contributed to an unacceptably high mortality rate for the premature babies. He noticed that the lack of basic modern life-saving neonatal equipment and the deficiency of qualified physicians and nurses in pediatrics desperately needed to be improved and enhanced to give the premature babies a better chance of survival.

Dr Singh and his wife, Dr Shirley Sit, also a pediatrician in Toronto took action immediately and set about to build a team of like-minded professionals and supporters who shared their concerns and committed themselves to improve the conditions with the main goal of reducing the infant mortality rate with safer deliveries and better care for the babies…especially the premature new-borns. As a result, they established Guyana Help the Kids Foundation (GHTK) under the leadership of Dr Singh and set about to develop and execute a functional plan for funding the required equipment and requisite paediatrics training for the local nurses and doctors.

Dr Singh gives credit to the invaluable and dedicated contributions of Dr Andrea Hunter, DR Lief Nelin and Dr Cait Yeager for championing and spearheading the critically needed pediatric residency program and the neonatal nursing program. He also commends Mr Kelly Pearce for his astute creative initiatives in procuring, on a limited budget, the essential life-saving neonatal equipment. As well, he graciously recognized that Terry Sawh and Mahendra Singh were relentlessly committed and dutybound in their implacable logistical and operational support, since the founding of the organization.

Notwithstanding, GHTK ground-breaking success in Guyana could not have happened without the unwavering support of families, friends, professional associates, the Guyanese dedicated paediatrics team and supporting businesses together with the collaboration of partnering doctors, hospitals and associated Canadian universities. Their contributions and support have made this philanthropic endeavour a resounding success…to the express and specific benefit of the Guyanese families who have benefited from this magnanimous humanitarian life-saving initiative.

In 2013, GHTK in partnership with the Guyana Ministry of health has transformed the six primary Public Hospitals, which accounts for 90% of the deliveries in Guyana with professionally trained pediatric nurses and paediatricians. There has been a 50% reduction in the number of infant deaths at the Georgetown Public Hospital in the first year with continued improvement each succeeding year as the program matured with more qualified pediatric support and better equipment facilitation.

The Pediatric Residency and Neonatal Nursing Program, under the guidance of Dr Hunter, Dr Nelin and Dr Yeager, have to-date trained and accredited 15 Guyanese pediatricians and 70 NICU nurses to become more self-supportive in delivering the highest level of care to the hospitals and communities in Guyana. We all owe these commendable and kind-hearted humanitarians our deepest gratitude for their selfless service to the people of Guyana.

The Masters of Ceremonies for the lively and exuberant Havana Nights fundraising event, Mahindra Singh and Niluka Kottegoda, officiated a pleasant and seamless program of entertainment, music and dancing with high enthusiasm and light humour.

Dr Singh’s passion and commitment to this noble cause was evident as he shared the success of the GHTK program in Guyana. He provided impressive statistical data, which authenticated the dramatic reductions of the country’s infant mortality. He then showed a poignant video of an emotionally grateful mother who credited him, Dr, Sara Singh, Dr Winsome Scott and the amazing team of pediatric caregivers for saving her 27 weeks premature baby who was auspiciously named Miracle. Clearly, a fitting testimony to the remarkable achievement of this life-saving program that was conceived and became a reality under Dr Singh’s leadership and the uncompromising support of his Canadian and Guyanese dedicated team. He indicated that this event seeks to raise $60,000.00 to fund 30 new critically needed ventilators to replace the regional hospitals ageing equipment. I am told that the well-organized and executed event raised $70,000.00 from the kind generosity and compassionate consideration of the sponsors, donors, silent auction and pledges.

Dr Sara Singh specifically came from Guyana for this event and talked about her morally rewarding experience as a practising Guyanese pediatrician at the Georgetown Hospital. She graciously expressed gratitude for the training she received through GHTK and the critically life-saving services that are now available to infants because of GHTK compassionate humanitarian work. Her genuine dedication and sense of commitment to her work as a pediatrician were self-evident. She admitted that she has found her calling and purpose to loyally serve the Guyanese people as a true patriot in her capacity as a pediatrician.

Guyana Consulate General, Ms An Yin Choo congratulated and thanked all involved in GHTK’s mission and expressed appreciation for the remarkable accomplishments and achievements that were made to the benefit of numerous Guyanese children and their families. She was emotive in her expressions about her own personal experiences as a mother and the trauma mothers go through with the life and death risks associated with premature births.

Dr Narendra Singh gave some well-deserved recognition awards to two of his loyal and champion supporters: Board member Terry Sawh for his unfailing contribution, support and dedication to GHTK objectives and also to Steve Ninja, Dax Sukraj, and Tony White for embracing, and believing without compromise, in the significant life-saving humanitarian and public service endeavours to which GHTK members are committed.

GHTK is now in the process of developing the necessary strategy to launch a similar life-saving program, based on the relative needs, in the Eastern Caribbean on the footprints and lessons learned from the successful Guyana experiment. As well, they have ambitious plans to advance their benevolent mission to reduce infant mortality… GLOBALLY

It is worth noting that these compassionate and kind-hearted expressions of selfless service and benevolent altruistic contributions to causes that are outside the immediacy of our own families, underscores our deep human connections with each other, regardless of race, ethnicity or beliefs. It is indeed natural for all humans to share the same hopes and dreams to live a healthy and rewarding life with the same fullness and joy that characterize our common humanity. Every life is precious and is worthy of the same rights, benediction and love that we ALL seek here on planet earth.

MC’s and board members and Niluka Kottegoda and Mahendra Singh
The pediatric Doctor from Guyana Dr. Sara Singh
The Counsel General of Guyana Ms Anyin Choo and Dr Narendra Singh.