Guyana working to eradicate five key diseases

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony

The Guyana government says it is working with the Pan American Health Organisation and the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) on a new initiative to eradicate five key infectious diseases in the country.

The Ministry of Health said Filaria [big foot], leprosy, chagas, leishmaniasis or bush yaws, have been identified by the government to be eradicated in a few years and remains confident that these diseases will be eliminated with the technical support from two United Nations health organisations.

“We have been working with them on a number of projects. Right now, we are working to eliminate Filaria from Guyana. We are hoping that in a couple years from now, we can declare Guyana to be filaria-free. So, that is one of the projects that we have with PAHO,” said Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, as he addressed the commissioning of the Paramakatoi Smart Hospital in Region Eight.

“Right now, at the national level, we have considered that it has been eliminated nationally. But there are still some pockets where we need to work to eliminate it in those particular areas. That is the kind of targeted work that we are doing with PAHO,” Dr Anthony stated.

He said the government remains optimistic that Leishmaniasis, which is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies, along with the Chagas disease which is caused by a bug, will be eradicated from Guyana.

Malaria is still endemic in Region One and the ministry is working assiduously to reduce in its first instance, and to work towards eradication by 2030 in the regions that are affected.

Anthony said that the government will shortly be launching an interesting immunisation programme.

“We also know that with the immunisation programme, you have to give people injections and a lot of people do not like injections. We will give the vaccine but not in the form of an injection. That one, we will be launching very soon which will become more comfortable for the child that is receiving the vaccine. It is not vaccine in the traditional sense. It is going to be a different way in delivering that vaccine,” he added.