MoPH to address health concerns resulting from increased migration

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is seeking to address health issues, faced by hinterland residents, as a result of increased migration from neighbouring countries.

DSC_2114- (from left to right)- Executive Director of Health Sector Development Unit, Dr. Morris Edwards, Regional Director of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Marcelo Pisani, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, Coordinator Officer for the Caribbean and Chief of Mission in Guyana, Robert Natiello, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Gordon-Boyle and Finance Director of Health Sector Development Unit, Sonia Roberts.

This was the focus of an early morning meeting between the Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence and the  Regional Director for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for Central and North America and the Caribbean, Marcelo Pisani and the Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello.

Minister Lawrence said the dialogue will serve to address the issue of outbreaks of diseases in the hinterland communities situated close to the border. These include outbreaks of malaria, gastroenteritis, and measles stemming from Venezuelan migrants.

The decision to ensure the provision of necessary health service to migrants and those persons most likely to be affected by their relocation was examined at a World Health Organisation (WHO) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last year.

“This was one of the main topics, where we discussed how do countries, place this into budget allocations within their health sector, in order to be able to provide those services to migrants; whether they are here seeking employment or whether they are here looking to become a resident or whether they are passing through the country”, Minister Lawrence stated.

She added that once a migrant arrives in Guyana, the administration has the responsibility to ensure that its healthcare system provides them with the necessary services.

According to Pisani, the gathering of data on the number of migrants that enter Guyana would better prepare the country to arrest or minimise the disease outbreaks.

He explained, “One of the topics that we are going to discuss is data production. IOM is part of the UN and as part of the UN we have been engaged with the agenda 2030 which is the SDGs, (Sustainable Development Goals,) and one of the goals is on health and we want to help countries to use data to follow and achieve the indicators of the SDGs.”

In 2016, there was a massive outbreak of malaria in Region Seven, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, due to the influx of Venezuelans, carrying the disease.  Nevertheless, the MoPH along with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the WHO quickly got the outbreak under control.


By: Isaiah Braithwaite


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