MOH inks agreement with IICA to advance ‘One Health’ initiative

Guyana has taken steps to advance the ‘One Health’ initiative with the signing of an agreement with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Malcolm Watkins, and IICA’S Representative to Guyana, Wilmott Garnett signed the agreement early Wednesday.

From left: IICA’s Representative in Guyana, Wilmott Garnett and Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary, Malcolm Watkins signing the agreement early on Wednesday

According to WHO, ‘One Health’ is an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes. This approach is critical to addressing health threats in the animal, human, and environmental interface.

With the pact, IICA will conduct evaluations and capacity building in food safety with personnel from the ministries of Agriculture, Health and Natural resources.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony at the simple signing ceremony

Delivering remarks, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said according to data from around the world, zoonotic diseases are moving into the human population, citing the COVID-19 virus.

Minister Anthony highlighted that Guyana has shortcomings as it relates to early detection of diseases and as such, the agreement will assist in increasing the capacity in Guyana.

IICA’s Representative in Guyana Wilmott Garnett

“Health is not something that is just for the Ministry of Health, but it has to be integrated across the board and we need all partners on board if we are going to have a comprehensive system of monitoring for future diseases,” Dr Anthony stated.

Meanwhile, Mr Garnett said, “Our team will also be visiting, doing some field work after these professionals have been trained, they will be engaging to do some physical assessments and so in the respective regions.”

Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy was also present at the exercise

Minister Anthony also relayed that the external evaluation of state parties’ reports is progressing.

This report will pave the way for Guyana to access the pandemic fund to prepare for any possible future pandemics.

Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy was also present at the signing ceremony.