Stakeholders urged to intensify awareness of NIDs campaigns
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Stakeholders in the health sector met today for a one-day workshop at the Herdmanston Lodge where special attention was placed on advocacy for strengthened support of the national action plan for Neglected Infectious (Tropical) Diseases (NIDs).
The workshop hosted by the Ministry of Public Health’s Vector Control Unit was convened under the theme “Strike a decisive blow against five neglected infectious diseases and improve thousands of Guyanese lives.”
In meeting the objectives of the theme, the meeting’s agenda was crafted to build and foster relationships with various stakeholders, while raising awareness and buy-in related to the elimination of the five NIDs – Lymphatic filariasis or Filaria, leprosy, Leishmaniasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis and American Trypanosomiasis commonly known as Chagas disease.
More specifically, during the meeting, stakeholders reviewed the revised national approach to combatting NIDs and also the existing operational research and reports to identify gaps.
Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence focused her brief remarks on the need for intensified public awareness and education as the keys to fostering collaborative approaches and public cooperation towards achieving the goal of elimination.
“Education is pivotal. When we say NIDs and, more so, when we attempt to name the diseases; what is it we are talking about? We need to be able to put it in context in a localised manner so that our people can feel that we are talking to them and they can take note.” Minister Lawrence explained.
”The most significant impact of eliminating NIDs is related to the planning and the implementation of an effective awareness campaign in all communities especially those which are more susceptible…We have to teach our population or we will defeat the purpose of any Plan of Action if the audience for whom the message is intended is ignorant… patient-education is a key to any successful (Public Health) programme,” the minister added.
The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) has been in the forefront, forging ahead with campaigns to control and eliminate NIDs in the Americas. Significant progress has been made in some parts of the world, however, the fight against NIDs is only now maturing, as new transmissions of infections occur and add to the already burdened NIDs framework.
PAHO/WHO continues to play an integral role, collaborating with the Public Health Ministry to control and eventually eliminate the prevalence of Neglected Infectious Diseases in Guyana. The international agency noted that the country’s efforts to have Guyanese to be among the healthiest in the Caribbean by 2020 is one that requires a fresh approach.
PAHO/WHO’s Country Coordinator, Dr. William Adu-Krow said Guyana is known to be one of the endemic countries to these five NIDs.
“(We want to) strike a decisive blow on the five NIDs that we have in Guyana. Are you ready to be part of the team that strikes a decisive blow? As the country looks towards strengthening the NID programme, PAHO/WHO is pleased to continue to be a privileged partner providing technical support to achieve the goal of eliminating NIDs in Guyana, once and for all.”
Expected outcomes from this workshop include the assumption of the integrated framework for NIDs, the assumption of a National Action Plan, National ownership of NIDs among other outcomes resulting in progress made nationally towards NIDs elimination.
By: Delicia Haynes