Malaria focused ‘Breakthrough ACTION’ project advancing

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 08, 2018

The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Breakthrough ACTION project, designed to assist the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reduce malaria transmission is advancing.

The project was implemented in 2017 and works along with the Johns Hopkins University to develop materials to create social and behavioural change in the mining communities to ensure proper health practices. It is a collaboration between the ministry, Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), Global Fund, and the United States Government and concludes in September 2019.

At an insight and validation workshop on Thursday, at Cara Lodge, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said there is a resuscitated drive to eliminate the disease.

“Of the 21 malaria-endemic countries in the region of the Americas, Guyana is one of 18 which has committed to eliminating this disease by developing sustainably robust policies and strategies which are tailored to the needs of the country as well as the identified communities with vulnerable population. Such as those with miners and loggers who are engaged in activities of economic benefits mostly in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine,” Minister Cummings explained.

She further explained that the ministry’s National Malaria Programme is currently implementing innovative interventions which target the delivery of services at the community level. These include capacity building of miners and loggers in testing and treating themselves for malaria and the surveillance for emerging artemisinin resistance in the Guyana shield.

“It is important that we do an assessment to understand the gaps in these components of the individual or patient that will influence the behaviour and subsequently use this information to guide the development of strategies that will target identified issues… It is important to know that the limited pool of antimalarials available to treat patients must be properly managed by the healthcare provider and patient,” the Public Health Minister underlined.

Meanwhile, United States Ambassador Perry Holloway lauded Guyana for its success in fighting malaria between 2000 to 2015. “With a 58 percent reduction in cases from 2000 to 2015, Guyana has made excellent progress in reducing malaria. This partnership with all stakeholders has shown great progress but we can’t stop.”

Ambassador Holloway noted the US government’s commitment to improve the prevention and control of malaria.

During the workshop, stakeholders will review and refine the insights gathered through formative research being conducted by Breakthrough ACTION and MoPH, which will ultimately inform the co-creation of solutions to improve the uptake and adherence to malaria testing and treatment services.

Ranetta La Fleur.

Image: Jamel Mohamed.

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