Volda Lawrence, M.P.,
Minister of Public Health
MALARIA remains a public-health concern globally. Therefore the theme for this year, ‘End malaria for Good, Let’s boost Prevention’ is timely.
The 2016 Malaria World Report presented a global tally of malaria peaking 212 million cases and 429,000 deaths. The report spotlighted a number of positive trends, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the heaviest malaria burden. It shows that, in many countries, access to disease-cutting tools is expanding at a rapid rate for those most in need.
In many countries however, progress is threatened by the rapid development and spread of mosquito-resistance to insecticides. Anti-malarial drug resistance can also jeopardise the recent gains some countries have made.
In 2015, the World Health Assembly endorsed the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030. This is a 15-year malaria framework for all countries working to control and eliminate malaria.
At the half-way point the international community has maintained its commitment to decreasing the burden of malaria throughout the world through the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action in the Americas 2011-2015. This dedication is also highlighted in the Framework for Artemisinin Resistance Prevention, Containment and Elimination in South America; and, in striving to meet targets set under the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
Guyana has not backed down form it global responsibilities and likewise, renews its commitment towards controlling the spread of malaria in the country.
Between 2014 and 2016, there has been a steady decrease in the incidence of malaria in Guyana with the total confirmed cases tallying 10,165 in 2016. However, we cannot afford to become complacent as persons are still dying of this scourge in our beloved country.
A National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2015-2020 for the malaria programme in Guyana has been drafted with the intention of optimising and building upon the lessons learned from previous periods and recent years of program implementation.
Furthermore, the strategic plan seeks to lay out the foundation for eliminating the local transmission of the disease in low endemic regions of Guyana. The National Malaria Programme Strategic Plan has outlined as a goal/objective under Strategic Priority Four (4) the need to optimise the distribution and use of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) in malaria affected communities, mainly in Regions 1 (Barima /Waini); 7 (Cuyuni/Mazaruni), 8 (Potaro/Siparuni) and 9 (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).
This would be achieved through mass distribution of LLINs to be held every three (3) years in Guyana commencing this year and continuous net distributions in health facilities across this nation. These distributions will be supported with an Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign in response to the challenge of having limited access to and use of this important malaria prevention tool in the country.
Last year, some 10,000 nets were distributed through health facilities across the ten (10) administrative regions. We hope that this number will be surpassed this year as the Government of Guyana has allocated G$85M in the 2017 fiscal estimates for the procurement of LLINs to facilitate the roll out of the mass distribution of LLINs.
The Ministry of Public Health wishes to take this opportunity to thank its partners in the fight against the bite, namely the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) for its continued technical support to the malaria programme and the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Government of Guyana along with its International Partners and Donor Agencies cannot do it alone. We count on the involvement of each citizen of our beloved country to join us in eliminating mosquito-breeding sites, especially around mining and logging camps.
As such we urge you to use mosquito repellants or coils to protect yourself and family. We ask you to place all garbage in covered bins and clean up your surroundings to destroy mosquito-breeding sites.
Remember to put mosquito (fine) mesh over windows and window spaces and wear protective clothing in malaria endemic areas. Most importantly, sleep under mosquito bed or hammock nets to prevent mosquitoes from biting. Nets treated with insecticide, like the ones provided free-of-cost by the Government of Guyana are the best.
Together, let’s end malaria for good by boosting prevention!
Hon. Dr. Karen Cummings, M.P., MBBS, MPH, B.Sc
Minister within the Ministry of Public Health
Co-operative Republic of Guyana
The Ministry of Public Health operates in service to the people of Guyana. Improving the Public Healthcare Systems in Guyana is one of the Ministry’s national priorities. This priority focuses on strategic approaches to improving the safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, efficiency, equitability, and accessibility to excellent healthcare services and facilities across Guyana. The Ministry of Public Health is resolutely committed to the delivery of the best quality health care, to all people living in Guyana. It is our intention to ensure that universal access to superior health care offered by the Ministry of Public Health becomes a reality by 2020.
One of the greatest and most important aspects of public health is the ability to communicate positively and effectively with particular identified target audiences. Health promotion is essential to the dissemination of essential information to persons about particular public health issues, that may be of utmost importance at a particular time and to a particular target group. Robust health promotion activities organized by the Ministry will ensure that the key messages of healthy living will resonate with the population and have a positive impact on their lives. Therefore, the Ministry of Public Health will endeavor to communicate strategically with stakeholders, partners and the society at large, by utilizing a number of traditional and new media communication technologies.
The Web is the most accessible new media technology available, that allows access 24/7 from any part of the world. The Ministry of Public Health – Guyana, will be increasing its online presence with this new Website that will offer major visibility on the online landscape than it has had in previous times. The information placed on this website is current, and will be updated in a timely manner to ensure that our viewing audiences are keep informed.
We at the Ministry of Public Health, as part of our commitment to keeping our information easily accessible, have created a more navigable website with additional resources, better tools, and a new visual design to support your many interests. With our completely redesigned site, you are now able to search our existing materials more easily. We are cognizant that copious information is created within the public health sector. It is for this reason primarily that we have rebuilt our site to make it much easier to find information and share resources.
Welcome to our newly redesigned website!
I urge that you utilize this online portal to your fullest advantage. Spread the word. Tell someone else to visit our Website. The Ministry of Public Health will continue to explore effective communication mechanisms to promote important public health messages to the benefit of all.