PAHO and Ministry of Health Roll out Efforts towards Disease Elimination in Guyana

Pic 1: Community members of White Water and Gaza Landing in Region 1, Mabaruma and surrounding areas Guyana.

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, June 2024- As Guyana moves forward with its Disease Elimination Initiative (DEI), the Ministry of Health and PAHO, supported by the Global Affairs Canada Project, implemented two integrated missions for elimination of malaria and the mother to child transmission (EMTCT) of HIV, Congenital Syphilis, and Hepatitis B in Regions 1 and 9. 

The joint missions aimed at identifying gaps and challenges on disease surveillance, malaria, and EMTCT with emphasis on vulnerable populations (miners, migrants).

In Region 1, the team held consultation meetings with the Regions’ Executive Officer, the Regional Health Officer, community leaders, and health workers stationed at Mabaruma town and its surrounding areas. The meetings aimed at identifying challenges and potential facilitators for the coordination of activities at subnational level across health programs. Visits included remote areas of Imbotero, White Water, and Morawhanna, which are located near the border with Venezuela.

Traditional Birth Attendants and Community Health Workers awarded by Certification of Participation

As part of this mission, a two-day training was conducted to improve the quality of care in maternal and perinatal health services provided by Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and Community Health workers in Mabaruma. 

The TBAs were given training on safe motherhood, infection prevention and control, nutrition, and family planning. Seventeen (17) TBAs and Community Health Workers (14 females and 3 males) participated in the training. The aim of this training was to ensure that “No mother die giving birth and to ensure child survival.” 

In terms of malaria and integrated surveillance, the team explored synergies in addressing other vector-borne diseases and to understand how existing maternal and child program staff can be further trained to address the EMTCT and Malaria and contribute towards eliminating other diseases.

Healthcare workers from Aishalton, Region 9.

A second mission was organized to region 9, comprising the town of Aishalton and surrounding villages and mining camps. The joint MoH/PAHO team met with Regional Health Authorities, staff at the District Hospital (DH) and the Shea, Marurannau, Awarewanau Health Posts. Equally important was the visit to the health post at Marudi Mining Camp and the interactions with miners and members of the malaria volunteer network. 

Several key areas related to malaria control and EMTCT elimination were examined. These included universal access to malaria diagnosis (microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests) and treatment, active case detection, Integrated Vector Management (such as use of long-lasting insecticide nets and larvicidal control of mosquitoes) and review of the human resource capacity needed to achieve malaria control and elimination in the region.

Traditional birth attendant training and visits to Imbotero and White Water by team members

As part of the mission, in-dept discussions were held with other stakeholders such as village leaders (Toshaos), staff of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission at the mining camp, as well as with members of the volunteer network and malaria field workers. Important messages that emerged from the engagements centered around universal access to care, the need to enhance the skills and training of health staff, health promotion, epidemiology and surveillance, vector control, training and capacity building, intersectoral action and quality control in diagnosis and treatment.

It is noteworthy that the Regional Health Officer and teams in both regions welcomed the initiative and pledged their support for the implementation and sustainability of intervention activities for the elimination of the diseases identified for immediate action within Guyana’s DEI.

PAHO Team with Malaria Field Workers at the Aroz Medic Outpost in the Marudi Mining Area

The Regional Health Authorities welcomed the support of PAHO and recognized the continuous technical assistance provided to the Ministry of Health in advancing its Disease Elimination Initiative.
The Disease Elimination Initiative (DEI) was launched by PAHO/WHO in the Region of the Americas in 2019 and has been championed by the Ministry of Health of Guyana since 2022.

Guyana has committed to the elimination agenda and has decisively embraced elimination as a key pillar of the health system transformation the country is witnessing. 

Doctors of the Aishalton District Hospital and Malaria Field Operator with PAHO Team
PAHO Team discussing Malaria Elimination Strategies with Malaria Field Worker