Canada-based lung specialist, Dr Robert Levy has indicated that while staff at Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) have been excellent at performing procedures for the detection of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), there is need for increased capacity to deal with the prevalence of such cases in the Linden community.Dr Levy made the comment following one of his annual visits to the health institution’s Spirometry Department on Wednesday. The lung specialist, who is part of a team responsible for establishing the Department at the medical facility, saidFrom left: Canada-based lung specialist, Dr Robert Levy; GASP Respiratory Therapist Carmen Rempel and International Desk Coordinator attached to the Public Health Ministry, Denroy Tudorthat asthma and COPD were very prevalent conditions in the bauxite mining community, with scores of patients being seen by the Department.“We still have lots of patients coming to the emergency department, from little kids to the elderly and we just have to continue to increase capacity to meet the need … These patients can be effectively treated. They can stay out of the emergency departments, out of the hospital when they get appropriate education, and self-management skills as well as appropriate medications … we’re recognising what’s perceived to be quite a high prevalence and incidence of these conditions in Linden that we have to increase capacity of our initial efforts,” Dr Levy stated, adding that both conditions were impacted by genetic predisposition as well as environmental conditions.He said while he did not have any accurate statistics, his team has been carefully tracking patients’ data for quality assurance purposes. In the case of Linden, Dr Levy said a possible collaboration with the University of Guyana for a population-based study to ascertain the prevalence of these cases in Linden versus other areas in the country would be helpful.However, he added that the team was working along with the LHC to focus on improving training opportunities for doctors and nurses, and partners were committed to this as well as ensuring accurate treatment and access to medications. As such, he said there was need for an increase in trained nurses to deal with such cases.Meanwhile, Respiratory Therapist with the Guyana Asthma Education and Spirometry Programme (GASP), Carmen Rempel said nurses at the Georgetown Public Hospital have also been observed to have a high skill level in dealing with such cases, and she was optimistic that the Georgetown team would continue to support the Linden team.International Desk Coordinator attached to the Public Health Ministry, Denroy Tudor said the Ministry was elated by the level of concern shown by Dr Levy in developing the GASP initiative, noting that the Programme has had meaningful impact on the lives of many.The GASP initiative is centred on accurate diagnosis of people with asthma and COPD using spirometry equipment, where nurses also train patients through education and self-management skills and the use of appropriate medication. The Programme was initiated by the Canadian medical team five years ago with the only other site set up at the Georgetown Public Hospital. More than 1500 patients have been tested, with over 6000 utilising the services at the Georgetown Public Hospital.The Spirometry Centre was piloted in Linden almost two years ago in an effort to provide accurate diagnosis, education, and self-management skills training.Presently, the Spirometry Department at the LHC is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to meet the needs of patients.