Dr Horace COX2

Dr Horace Cox, Director, Vector Control Service (VCS)

– ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’

Today, the 25th April, 2020, Guyana joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Malaria Day under the theme ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’

The Ministry of Public Health, in recognition of this year’s theme, challenges the country’s buoyant private sector and all communities nationwide to embrace this focus collectively in the ongoing quest to help eliminate malaria.

This vector-driven illness spread by the female Anopheles mosquito hurts businesses and communities deeply.

Reversing the effects of malaria requires consistent and dedicated community engagement which becomes more critical to ensuring access for all marginalised groups.

Amidst developing threats like unresponsiveness by some patients to drug treatment;  the resistance of arthropods to insecticide treatment and catastrophic climate change, the fight to end malaria needs new partners to help mobilise resources sustainably to reach national goals.

Businesses interested in fighting malaria will also need dedicated partners to advise on the best ways to invest in health programmes including training materials for workplaces and other measures to fight malaria at work sites.

The myriad challenges societies confront today underscore the importance of designing robust, evidence-based anti-malaria strategies equal to the scale and scope of the presence of the infective disease.

Guyana has adopted many such global strategies. In fact, Guyana’s malaria vision has the following features: achieving universal access to vector control interventions as well as testing and treatment services; accelerating towards malaria elimination; and transforming surveillance into a core intervention.

These, however, must be supported by an enabling environment and the effective use of science, technology and innovation.

Guyana’s free malaria services will continue in a more structured approach to helping effect behaviour change especially among the country’s vulnerable groups.

Regional departments continue to be strengthened to help decentralise strategic planning, coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

These efforts can only be successful through greater ownership, broader stakeholder involvement and resource mobilization especially in the midst of threats of the emergence of artemisinin resistance.

Public health challenges are evolving. Consequently, the application of science, innovation and technology has become even more vital. As we pool our energies to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we reflect on the importance of maintaining malaria service delivery and remain resolute in the fight against its elimination.

The Ministry of Public Health malaria-elimination agenda will continue.

Remember ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’. Through a concerted effort at all levels we will continue marching unwaveringly along the elimination continuum.