Trainers workshop to effectively manage Zika virus hosted

─ over 25 healthcare professionals to benefit

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

More than twenty-five healthcare professionals will benefit from a two-day USAID Train-the-Trainer workshop aimed to provide psychosocial support to parents and caregivers of Zika-affected children.

The psychosocial support training exercise being held at the Cara Lodge is a collaboration between the governments of Guyana and the United States of America to improve the health and well-being of Guyanese citizens relative to the Zika epidemic.

According to Terry Steers-Gonzalez, US Deputy Chief of Mission, this Zika Maternal and Child Survival workshop will highlight proven coping skills and strategies to effectively manage daily challenges and improve health outcomes.

“Caring for children with disabilities presents unique challenges this can often result in parental stress and depression, which in turn can have the child’s development. Therefore, this workshop will prepare mental health, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation professionals to roll-out national training on clinical and non-clinical aspects of care of affected infants and children,” Steers-Gonzalez said.

He also disclosed that the healthcare professionals will be instructed how to train caregivers to conduct recovery therapies at home and early infant and child stimulation, which will help in achieving developmental milestones.

Zika, a virus transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, was first confirmed in Guyana on January 12 when the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) established that a sample sent for testing from a 27-year-old woman, whose addresses were listed as both Rose Hall, Corentyne and Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara had tested positive.

The US Deputy Chief of Mission said while there has been some success in controlling the Zika virus, the public health sector still needs to be vigilant, as the virus continues to pose a threat.

“The truth is that Zika continues to be transmitted in the Caribbean, but at lower levels than during the outbreak two years ago. The U.S Centers for Disease Control is still registering cases of Zika infection among American tourists returning from the Caribbean and maintains is warning that pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika, and lists the Caribbean as an area of risk, including Guyana,” he explained.

The psychosocial support training will continue to be one of the main pillars of Zika Project to aid in the strengthening the resilience of individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of Zika.

To this date, the initiative has conducted intensive community sensitisation activities in 165 schools and 150 health centres across 60 communities in Guyana.

Neola Damon

Images: Karime Peters

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