Ministry of Public Health, Georgetown, July 06 2016 – The Ministry of Public Health in its continued efforts to enhance the quality of health services it provides to the people living in Guyana, is conducting a quarterly review, of the work done by the Maternal and Child Health/Expanded Programme of Immunization (MCH/EPI). This three-day review meeting will focus on a number of pertinent issues within the local public health setting with emphasis on: Strengthening Health Systems and Services across Guyana, Exploring opportunities for Family Planning, Improving Surveillance for Yellow Fever, Using Data for Decision Making and ZIKA Management in Pregnancy.
In some brief remarks made by the PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow expressed his satisfaction that the Ministry of Public Health is making positive strides in reducing the maternal and neo-natal mortality. He observed however, that much work is yet to be done in Guyana, if the Ministry is determined to realize universal equitable access to the best quality health care. Dr. Adu Krow also commended the Ministry for its assiduous work at expanding its vaccination coverage across the country, while carefully noting that more efforts need to be made in this regard.
Dr. William Adu-Krow
Addressing the gathering was the Honorable Minister of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings who highlighted that there must be more equity and equality with regard to the improvement of access to best quality health care, within the public health sector. “With all the strategic investments being made in the public health sector by the Government of Guyana, Guyanese are poised to achieve a grand convergence in health – an environment where women and children all have the same access to health care, and an equal opportunity to survive and thrive, regardless of where they give birth or are born,” the Minister said.
The Minister further pointed out that: “healthy birth outcomes and early identification and treatment of health conditions among infants can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential. As health professionals in the Guyana Public Health system, this goal must be our priority,” the Minister said.
In alluding to the expanding programme on immunization, Minister Cummings outlined that Guyana has been consistently improving its vaccination coverage through the years. She however cautioned, until we can ensure that every child, every person is receiving his or her required vaccines, there remains much more work to be done.
“In the 1980s, the percentage coverage for BCG used to be at 68%. I am pleased to point out that in 2015, that statistic increased to 98 %. In 1995 polio coverage was at 87%. In 2015 it is almost eradicated. For measles coverage, we have increased from 67% in the 1995 to 100 % in 2015. Like all the others, DTP 3 coverage increased from 86% in 1995 to 98% in 2015. The treatment of other infectious diseases likewise mirrors this positive increase in coverage.
It is very reassuring to note that Guyana is leading its regional partners in vaccination coverage, despite the many challenges faced regarding cost, transportation, and staffing,” Minister Cummings stated.
The MCH/EPI Review Meeting is being held at Grand Costal Conference Room, from July 7 – 9, 2016, and is being chaired by the Director of MCH/EPI Department (ag), Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton.