|Strengthening Laboratory Capacity for Diagnosis and Management of Chagas Disease for Primary HealthCare Workshop|
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) conducted a three-day training for primary health care personnel on strengthening laboratory capacity for diagnosis and management of Chagas disease. Twenty-eight (28) persons participated in the training, which was held from 26 to 28 June 2012 at the National Reference Laboratory, Georgetown. Clinicians participated in the first day of the training and laboratory technicians participated the following two days.
The three-day workshop was facilitated by Dr. Alejandro Luquetti, Professor, University of Brazil.
Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, in his opening remarks welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the training. He stated that the focus is to create awareness of the Chagas disease, and to explore diagnosis criteria and management and treatment of the disease. He further mentioned that in Guyana, evidence gathered from blood bank screening and small studies done indicates there are positive cases of Chagas disease.
Dr. Nicolas Ceron, PAHO/WHO Specialist, Malaria Prevention and Control, stated that with the increase in international travel and open borders, especially in South and Central America, the disease is now globally distributed. The prevalence of Chagas disease in the Amazon is estimated at about 3% with 10-14 million cases. Incidence is estimated at about 1.5 million annually, due to increased access to habitat of the vector of transmission. He further stated that efforts to interrupt the transmission of Chagas disease have been successful in several countries and must continue through vector control and blood bank screening. Transmission by blood transfusion has increasingly been reported as the cause of new infections outside the foci natural transmission.
Dr. Ceron advised that all of these strategies are in the local Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) plan and that training was important in order to continue the implementation of the Chagas plan in Guyana.
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