Guyana is gaining support from the United States to advance its fight against malaria. In this regard an insight and validation workshop is being held at the Quamina Street, Georgetown Cara Lodge.
Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a Breakthrough ACTION project was designed to assist the local Public Health Ministry to reduce malaria transmission. Based on reports presented at the forum, there is evidence to substantiate the notion that Guyana is making progress in its malaria fight.
The Breakthrough ACTION project was implemented in 2017 and works along with the Johns Hopkins University to develop materials to create social and behavioural change in the mining communities to ensure proper health practices. It represents collaboration between the Ministry, the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), Global Fund, and the United States Government and is set to conclude in September 2019.
The collaboration, according to Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr. Karen Cummings, has allowed for the Ministry’s National Malaria Programme to be better positioned to implement innovative interventions which target the delivery of services at the community level. These include capacity building of miners and loggers in testing and treating themselves for malaria and the surveillance for emerging drug resistance in the Guyana shield.
“It is important that we do an assessment to understand the gaps in these components of the individual or patient that will influence the behaviour and subsequently use this information to guide the development of strategies that will target identified issues. It is important to know that the limited pool of anti0malarials available to treat patients must be properly managed by the healthcare provider and patient,” the Public Health Minister said.
Meanwhile, United States Ambassador Perry Holloway in lauding Guyana efforts at combating malaria spoke of the successes realized during the period 2000 to 2015. “With a 58 percent reduction in cases from 2000 to 2015, Guyana has made excellent progress in reducing malaria. This partnership with all stakeholders has shown great progress but we can’t stop.”
According to Ambassador Holloway, the United States government remains committed to improving the prevention and control of malaria and thus will continue to throw its support behind Guyana..
During the workshop, which continues today, stakeholders will review and refine the insights gathered through formative research being conducted by Breakthrough ACTION and the Public Health Ministry. It is expected that the insights will ultimately inform the co-creation of solutions to improve the uptake and adherence to malaria testing and treatment services.