Gov’t, stakeholders host ‘One Health’ meeting
– Focused on enhancing disease eradication efforts
Guyana is keen on reinforcing the ‘One Health’ agenda among key stakeholders as a strategy for pandemic preparedness and prevention, as well as a mechanism to support the nation’s disease eradication efforts.
An inaugural ‘One Health’ meeting was held Monday at Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre, Kingston, Georgetown, to further drive the health policy that seeks to avoid and prepare for present and future health concerns.
During his remarks, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said that a comprehensive approach is necessary to achieve the agenda.
He explained this can be accomplished by establishing resilient surveillance systems, improving laboratory services, and developing the human capacity to respond appropriately to present and future health concerns.
“This one health agenda is very important because we see this as the logical way in which we can make our country very resilient. The investments that we are going to make over time are going to be to improve surveillance, laboratory, and human capacity. And not just limited to animal health, but also to look at what is going on in the environment,’ Dr Anthony noted.
The ‘One Health’ initiative is a collaborative multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach at the local, regional, national, and global levels, aimed at achieving optimal health outcomes.
“When we think about the consequences if we don’t have this approach, it can really be devastating, and COVID-19 is just one of those reminders that this is real. Instead of thinking about human health as just working within the human population… we have to look at those interconnections,” the health minister explained.
All the agencies involved have shown a willingness to work to formulate mitigation measures to prevent present and future health risks.
Advisor on CARICOM’s Agri-Food System, Dr Richard Blair said the process will provide services to bolster the country’s food production and enhance opportunities for exports.
“We believe that by focusing on this one health programme, it will provide some services for us in ensuring food safety and importantly in preventing early pathogenic influenza,” Dr Blair stated.
Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO Representative in Guyana, Dr Luis Codina disclosed that PAHO has been mandated by countries within the regions of the Americas and Caribbean sub-regions to coordinate, promote, and provide technical cooperation to support countries in implementing ‘One Health’.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Country Representative, Dr Gillian Smith, People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Ann Miller and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture representative in Guyana, Wilmot Garnett, were among those present at the meeting.