$2.1B of Public Health budget caters to disease control

DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 15, 2017

The programme for disease control under the Ministry of Public Health will increase the disease surveillance and preventative action at the regional and national level. With its $2.1B approved budgetary allocation the services of communicable and Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)s will be efficiently managed.

The Ministry’s programme of disease control in 2018 will more specifically decentralise services in the areas of Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and Leprosy.

TB

As it relates to TB, the National Tuberculosis Programme will seek to improve diagnostics with Genexpert. The recently launched Genexper is the gold standard for early diagnosis of TB. Improved diagnosis will result in accurate treatment and will also combat the prevalence Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR).

More specifically, the Genexpert machines, seven in total, will be distributed to regions to provide access and reach for TB screening. The National Public Health Reference Laboratory will house three of these machines, the other four will be in Regions Two, Three, Six and Ten.

A Chest X-Ray machine will be acquired for the TB clinic to be used for the imaging of the lungs and other organs, as well as spotting abnormalities and diseases. The purchase of an Infection Type Control Ambulance for the transport of TB patients has also been approved.

HIV/AIDS

The Ministry will continue to utilise its community-based initiative, which is to partner with Non-Governmental Organisations, Schools and Faith-Based Organisations to combat HIV/AIDS. This will complement the reintroduction of HIV Prevention, Testing and Treatment campaigns.

In 2018, the ministry will embark on a ‘Treat All’ programme in keeping with the UNAIDS fast-track strategy of ending AIDS by 2030.

The National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) has indicated that it has been a continual challenge to address the stigma and discrimination. Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence disclosed that new cases are emerging within the 15-24 age range.

Therefore, the Adolescent Health Unit will now have the responsibility of re-emphasising the importance of teenaged clinics while implementing measures to have Health Clubs in Secondary Schools in collaboration with the education ministry.

The Public Health Ministry will also be piloting a point of care testing programme at the National Care and Treatment Centre for other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Chlamydia & Gonorrhea.

Leprosy

Reports indicate that there have been more detected cases and this is owed to the fact the that the Ministry of Public Health’s skin clinic has been actively involved in surveillance.

Minister Lawrence said that,“at first glance, this may appear as a negative, but the implications are that the increased surveillance has now provided the real statistics, and so the Department is now well positioned to roll out its treatment plan.” She added that it is now imperative that surveillance continues so that diagnosed persons will be effectively treated.

There has been significant improvement throughout the disease control programme and the ministry envisions that the ‘Plan for Action’ for continued success will be actively pursued.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases will carry out the task of coordinating the response to the epidemic of NCDs in Guyana as it relates to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic lung diseases.

The minister pointed out that, “The fight against all forms of cancer, tobacco-related diseases and sexual and reproductive health diseases will be intensified so that all citizens can enjoy healthy fulfilling lives as the journey of the good life continues.”

By: Delicia Haynes

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