Guyana attends Regional Meeting on Surveillance and Control Strategy for Arboviruses
Ministry of Public Health, Guyana, October 25, 2016
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)/ World Health Organisation (WHO) held its Regional Meeting on Surveillance and Control Strategy for arboviruses in Havana, Cuba from October 20-21, 2016. Hon. Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton and Director of Vector Control Services, Dr. Horace Cox were in attendance among with 189 participants inclusive of Ministers of Health of Cuba, Honduras, Barbados, North America and Guyana; the Director of PAHO/WHO along with other dignitaries and heads of delegations from countries of the Caribbean, South, Central and North America.
The objectives of the meeting were to identify common actions for implementing the integrated strategy for surveillance and control of arboviruses approved by the Region and design actions leading to a harmonized effort among countries, in order to confront the current Zika epidemic. Representatives from participating countries were also expected to exchange experiences in the prevention and fight against the epidemic of zika and other arboviruses, concerning diagnosis and treatment, epidemiological surveillance, international health regulations, human resources training, scientific research, technology assessment and transfer, and public education campaigns.
At the meeting, thirty-four countries shared information openly on how to improve the fight against arboviral diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and zika in the Region of the Americas. These topics are noted to be of immeasurable public health importance in light of there being 47 countries in the region of the Americas which now have established Zika transmission; an infectious disease which has been linked to increases in the number of cases of microcephaly and Guillain-Barrre.
The areas of expertise identified included clinical management of arboviruses, vector control, epidemiology and laboratory work.
Dr. Carissa Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director in her feature address emphasize to the need for collaboration among the countries in the Americas in order to have a successful implementation of the strategy on Prevention and Control of Arboviruses adopted at the 55th Directing Council by PAHO in September, 2016. Dr. Etienne also reiterated that the purpose of the Havana consensus to implement an integrated strategy roadmap for prevention and control of arboviral diseases (outcome of this meeting) was to be the means to an end for arboviruses in the Region, in light of the permanent threat to global and regional security by several epidemics.
The outcome of the meeting was a consensus to implement an integrated strategy roadmap for prevention and control of arboviral diseases (IMS-Arbovirus). This was approved with the commitment from the participating countries to working towards the implementation of this prevention and control strategy.
PAHO/WHO has recommended to that their member-states establish and maintain the ability to: detect and confirm cases of Zika, prepare health services to respond to the greater need for specialized care and interdisciplinary work for the management of neurological syndromes.
It was recognized that the implementation of the Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Arboviral Diseases cannot be an isolation effort, nor the sole responsibility of the Health sector, but an integral action that involves other sectors; including the economic sector, civil society, the private sector, media communications, the community and the family.