New strategies needed for Malaria treatment and prevention – Min. Cummings tells Guyana Global Fund CCM

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A country dialogue was hosted by the Guyana Global Fund-Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) and the Ministry of Public Health’s Vector Control Service to examine the unit’s performance after benefitting from resources from the global fund.

The meeting was held at the Grand Coastal Inn, on the East Coast of Demerara on January 31, 2018. Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, premised her remarks on moving forward as the CCM prepares to access another disbursement from the global fund for the malaria programme.

Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, delivering remarks at the Guyana Global Fund-Country Coordinating Mechanism meeting for the Malaria Programme.

The Minister highlighted that support from the global fund has contributed to the reduction of the high rates of malaria in Guyana, over two decades. Applauding the hosting of the meeting, she noted that the stakeholder engagement forum is aimed at having a meaningful open dialogue on the possible continuation of funding for the malaria programme by Global Fund.

“More importantly, it presents an excellent opportunity for all concerned stakeholders to be apprised of the work being done by the Ministry of Public Health with regard to its malaria programme, and to identify opportunities for further collaboration and support, as we collectively strive at expanding the work of the national malaria programme.” Minister Cummings added.

Further, it has been noted that with the help of the Global Fund, Guyana has made significant progress in being able to detect, treat, and prevent malaria. These efforts include innovative diagnostics, medicines, vaccines, vector control products, and improved mechanisms for surveillance and response.

The junior Public Health Minister said that the National Malaria Programme, through Vector Control Services would have to build on the gains through funding to achieve universal health coverage under the malaria programme.

Some of the stakeholders in attendance at the meeting.

“There must be new approaches for scaling up of existing strategies for malaria treatment and prevention to address areas of high malaria transmission and interrupt parasite transmission. In addition, we need novel tools to counter the growing threat of drug and insecticide resistance, as well as better surveillance mechanisms to more effectively target interventions to populations and areas of high risk of malaria transmission,” the junior Public Health Minister said.

Also, there will also be intensified “In vivo” testing to determine the mosquito’s resistance to anti-malarial drugs. According to Minister Cummings, the “In vivo” test follows the clinical and parasitological responses in symptomatic patients over a period of time after drug therapy.

With international funding, a new entomology unit is also earmarked to be established at Diamond Hospital, East Bank Demerara. “This unit will be outfitted with equipment and personnel trained to conduct tests on mosquitoes with the aim of ascertaining their resistance to drugs used for treatment. Such a unit will certainly help us to shift the parameters for the treatment of malaria, thus safeguarding more lives,” Minister Cummings detailed.

Recently, a number of initiatives were undertaken with a greater emphasis on the hinterland regions. With additional funding, the National Malaria Programme is looking to be able to cover approximately 80 percent of the hinterland population, including miners and loggers.

 

By: Delicia Haynes

 

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