PAHO/WHO provides Technical Cooperation to Guyana on Medicines and Health Technologies Production

Visit to the Biomedical Engineering Department, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation Inc

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA-14 SEPTEMBER 2023 -As a response to the challenges faced during the Covid-19 Pandemic with weakened medicine supply chains and poor access to vaccines, medicines and other medical supplies, the President of Guyana expressed the intention to develop the framework and infrastructure for production of vaccines and other medicines in the country. The need for strengthening the legislative and regulatory framework and to invest in the training of a highly-skilled workforce in these new areas was also stated by the President.

The Covid-19 Pandemic highlighted issues with access to vaccines and medicines in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a response, PAHO/WHO launched the Regional Platform for Advancing the Production of Vaccines and Other Health Technologies in August 2021. PAHO/WHO will provide support to increase health technology production capacities in Latin America and the Caribbean to improve access to health, reduce inequalities and promote knowledge-based economic development.

Dr Jarbas Barbosa committed PAHO's support to Guyana in this endeavor. A three-day mission to Guyana was organized with the participation of Mr. Tomas Pippo and Mr. Eduardo Oliveira from the PAHO/WHO Innovation and Regional Production Platform. Meetings and site visits were made to institutions and key actors involved in the areas of medicine regulation, production and governance in Guyana.

Meeting with the Minister of Health, Hon Dr. Frank Anthony, PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Luis Codina and visiting PAHO/WHO Advisors, on Medicines Production Mr. Tomas Pippo and Mr. Eduardo Oliveira

Meeting with the PAHO/WHO visiting team on Medicines Production and Guyana Office and senior officials from the University of Guyana

These included meetings with the Minister of Health, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department, the University of Guyana and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. A visit was also made to the largest manufacturer of prescription and other medicines in Guyana, which is privately-owned.

The main purpose of the mission was to gain an overview of the infrastructure and landscape with regard to the regulatory framework, investment policies, human resources and technology that currently exist in the country with regard to medicines, in order to assess and establish the areas that should be strengthened in the short, medium and long term.

At a meeting with Guyana's Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, a summary of the findings of the assessment were presented by the PAHO Team, including a discussion of the next steps in the collaboration. In the next six weeks, PAHO will propose a strategic plan that is in alignment with the Government of Guyana's vision for expanding its capacity to produce medicines and other health technologies for both local and Regional markets.

Visit to the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation by the visiting PAHO/WHO Team and the PAHO/WHO Guyana Team

The proposed plan will map out the strategic actions that are required to create the infrastructure that will position Guyana as a medicines production hub, such as strengthening of the regulatory framework, developing policies for training and retention of qualified human resources, mechanisms for attracting financing and investment and procurement and logistics.