Collaborative effort to see elimination of neglected infectious diseases by 2030

The Ministry of Health has joined with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) on a two-day workshop to craft a ‘national action plan’ that will seek to eliminate five neglected infectious diseases from Guyana by 2030.

Speaking at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on Monday, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said Chagas, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic Filariasis and soil transmitted Helminths are “ancient” and even up to today, health facilities are still fighting to control them.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P

“We’ve had a plan in the past, and we will be working that plan, but now we want to make sure not just that we work the plan, but that we ensure that we can eliminate these diseases before 2030,” Minister Anthony said.

Dr. Anthony further said, “it is estimated that for these 20 diseases that are categorised (by WHO) as neglected infectious diseases that it affects more than a billion people around the world.”

Further, Dr. Anthony said the government will be providing the necessary resources to eliminate or control the five neglected infectious diseases.

“From the government side we are putting the resources in, financial and other wise to make sure that we can eliminate these diseases.”

Minister Anthony said in an effort to eliminate Filaria, a mass drug administration campaign was undertaken by the ministry.  He is hopeful that with improved medical care for those infected and constant assessments, in the next three years, Guyana could be declared Filaria free.

Representative of PAHO/WHO, Dr. Luis Codina.

Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Luis Codina said, “I think it’s very important we know the difference between all of these five diseases…but also, it’s a human right against the discrimination and stigmatisation of certain neglected disease that we are suffering in all the regions.”

He noted that although there may be many plans in the region, countries face the challenge of financing.

Participants of the workshop.

The workshop will see participants collaborating to make key decisions on the path to eliminating the diseases.