Gov’t, PAHO/WHO working on initiative to eradicate five key diseases

The Ministry of Health in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) are working on an initiative to eradicate five key infectious diseases from Guyana.

Filaria [big foot], leprosy, chagas, leishmaniasis or bush yaws, have been identified by the government to be eradicated in a few years.

Government remains confident that these diseases will be eliminated with the technical support from PAHO.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony during remarks on Saturday at the commissioning of the Paramakatoi Smart Hospital, Region Eight.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony

“We have been working with them [PAHO/WHO] on a number of projects…Right now, we are working to eliminate Filaria from Guyana. We are hoping that in a couple years from now, we can declare Guyana to be filaria-free. So, that is one of the projects that we have with PAHO. Right now, at the national level, we have considered that it has been eliminated nationally. But there are still some pockets where we need to work to eliminate it in those particular areas. That is the kind of targeted work that we are doing with PAHO,” Dr Anthony stated.

The health minister said government remains optimistic that Leishmaniasis, which is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies, along with the Chagas disease which is caused by a bug, will be eradicated from Guyana.

Government continues to provide the necessary resources to eliminate or control the five diseases.

Malaria is still endemic in Region One and the ministry is working assiduously to reduce in its first instance, and to work towards eradication by 2030 in the regions that are affected.

Shortly, government will be launching an interesting immunisation programme, Dr Anthony noted, “We also know that with the immunisation programme, you have to give people injections and a lot of people do not like injections. We will give the vaccine but not in the form of an injection. That one, we will be launching very soon which will become more comfortable for the child that is receiving the vaccine. It is not vaccine in the traditional sense. It is going to be a different way in delivering that vaccine.”

Vaccine being administered to a patient

Dr Anthony said this will have a huge impact on vaccine uptake and to prevent the fear children might have in using such a vaccine.

The UK continues to partner with Guyana on numerous initiatives to improve the delivery of healthcare in the country, which include procuring vaccines for COVID-19, the smart hospital initiative, among other areas.