Minister of Public Health, Ms. Volda Lawrence, has sought to highlight the significant strides being made by Guyana to eliminate malaria.
According to the Minister, currently, the vision of the national malaria programme is to sustain focus on promoting malaria-free communities in Guyana. In this regard the Public Health sector, she said, is on a mission to interrupt the transmission of malaria in Guyana by improving access to early diagnosis and providing prompt, effective and safe anti-malarial treatment through a coordinated national response.
The Minister disclosed that during the period 2000 to 2014, Guyana achieved almost 50 per cent reduction in malaria cases. She revealed too that in 2018 the drive has continued towards the elimination of the disease as the country strengthens the roll-out of key strategies.
Many of the high-burden districts in Guyana, the Minister said, have had cases of malaria among the populations living in situations of vulnerability such as miners and loggers.
But, Government of Guyana remains committed to the continued provision of the required resources while counting on support from key partners such as the Global Fund, USAID and the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation [PAHO/WHO], the Minister said.
Some of the noteworthy achievements by Guyana in advancing the fight against malaria include: improved surveillance efforts through revised data collection tools with emphasis on the timeliness of reporting; updating key documents such as the National Strategic Plan 2015-2020, its corresponding Monitoring and Evaluation plan and the development of an operational manual; microscopy training of health workers in different regions of the country while focusing efforts on the monitoring of the efficacy of key anti-malarials such as Coartem (artemether-lumefantrine).
Some other innovative strategies which have been rolled out includes the ongoing training of miners and loggers in the endemic region of Guyana in testing and treating themselves for malaria.
Earlier this year too, the Ministry of Public Health also distributed more than 92,000 long lasting insecticide treated nets to the at-risk populations in Regions One, Seven, Eight, and Nine.
“These remain our humble achievements as we attempt to mobilize a response that is timely and effective in the fight against malaria,” Minister Lawrence added.
Currently out of the 21 malaria-endemic countries in the Americas, Guyana is among the 18 which have expressed commitment to eliminate malaria.