Mass Net Distribution Campaign launched in Region 9 as part of efforts to eradicate malaria in Guyana

Minister Anthony emphasises importance of people’ responsibility

A campaign to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) has been launched in the Amerindian village of Aishalton, Deep South Rupununi, Region Nine, as part of the Ministry of Health’s national strategy to eliminate malaria in Guyana.

The campaign’s goal is to reduce the transmission of the disease by providing a barrier against mosquitoes that carry the disease, in endemic communities like Aishalton and in Regions One, Seven and Eight, and mining areas.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, US Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot, PAHO/WHO Representative, Daniel Albert and Aishalton’s Toshao, Michael Thomas among others at the launching ceremony on Friday

The initiative was officially launched by the Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony during his visit to the community on Friday.

During the launch, the minister emphasised the importance of people’s responsibility in eradicating malaria. He highlighted the need for residents to dispose of garbage properly and be aware of preventative measures that they can use within their residences.

“You don’t have to get malaria if we take precautions and that is very important, to take precautions, to prevent yourself from getting malaria…it makes no sense that you have a net and you don’t use it. Once you get a net, you got to use and use it properly…government alone cannot fight malaria, its everyone’s problem,” he underlined.

Minister Anthony believes that the disease can be fully eradicated in Region Nine, and the lessons learned there can be adopted and applied to other regions.

“The lessons that we learn here, we can adopt it and move it over to the regions and use the same strategies so that in a couple of years, we’ll remove malaria as a problem in Guyana,” he stated.

The minister also stated that substantial investments have been made to train additional microscopists and to make rapid-test kits available to detect cases.

Also attending the launching ceremony was the United States Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot who expressed commendations to the government for embarking on an ambitious goal.

She further revealed that USAID has provided more than US$5.2 million in technical assistance to Guyana’s national malaria programme and is looking forward to continuing collaborations to advance the health and wellbeing of communities nationwide.

“Long-Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs)…are one of the World Health Organisation’s most effective strategy to prevent malaria. To meet our shared goal to eliminate malaria in Guyana but also around the world, we must ensure 80 per cent get net coverage in endemic communities like Aishalton,” the ambassador added.

PAHO/WHO Representative, Daniel Albert also commended the government and highlighted that lessons will be learned and shared with other countries from Guyana’s initiatives.  

The National Malaria Strategic Plan has identified the need to optimise distribution and use of treated nets in malaria-affected communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten as a key goal under Strategic Priority Number Four.

To achieve this, mass free distributions will be held every three years in Guyana, which will be supported by continuous net distributions through multiple channels.

This campaign aims to provide protection to the most vulnerable populations, particularly those living and working in the mining areas where the risk of malaria is highest. The goal is to ensure that every family, child, and individual has access to the protection they need to prevent malaria