Health Ministry, NGOs partner to end TB

―$22M grant given to National Coordinating Coalition to support efforts

―To roll out over 26 months

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The National Coordinating Coalition (NCC) Incorporated has received a $22.3Million grant from the Global Fund to improve its efforts in the fight to end tuberculosis (TB).

The agreement was signed on Wednesday with the NCC’s work to be focused primarily in Region 1 and parts of Region 9.

The NCC has approximately 26 months to cover strategic activities and make a meaningful impact. Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence explained what such an agreement means since there is an intensified push to end tuberculosis.

“This goes hand in hand with our policy, we have said it loud and clear, we know we do not have the capacity to do all the things that we want to do or should do so we would certainly work with partners, especially local partners to achieve that goal so here it is this morning that we are putting that into action.”

The minister added that she expects an effective collaboration coming out of an agreement.

“We look forward to the report and more than ever we look forward to the data which we will gather from such a collaboration so I want to thank Global Fund for sponsoring Guyana.”

The NCC is a coalition of NGOs which helps address issues such as suicide, crime and violence, education development, gender-based violence, at-risk youth, and the reduction of HIV prevalence, communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Executive Director Simone Sills said the organisation has been working in the regions dealing with infectious diseases and promoting good health practices while bringing awareness to persons.

“This partnership with the ministry is just an extension of what we have been doing. This is the second time around that we are actually partnering on the TB project, a lot of our work is known in HIV/AIDS,” Sills said.

Specific areas of focus towards ending TB will include increased home visits and training for improved diagnostic capacity.

The villages in Regions 1 and 9 that have been earmarked are Yarakita, White Water, Waini Point, Imbotero and Annai. The main activities range from boosting the Direct Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS), to patient support in the form of care packages, training for improved diagnostic capacity, executing a TB survey, and procuring second-line medications.

As the principal recipient, the health ministry signed a grant agreement with the Global Fund to enhance and strengthen tuberculosis awareness for prevention, effective diagnosis, and treatment in key populations in Guyana.

NCC’s disbursement is part of a more substantial grant given to the ministry which amounts to $103.5Million with on overall implementation period of three years – April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2022.

Under this grant, the ministry would also continue to invest in improving access to patients in target regions, especially Regions 1 and 7, with the purchase of All-Terrain Vehicles.