Guyana completes the Voluntary External Evaluation of IHR capacities with support from PAHO

28 Jul 2023
VEE team
28 Jul 2023

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA- JULY 28, 2023- The Ministry of Health (MOH) collaborated with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) to conduct the final phase of Guyana’s Voluntary External Evaluation (VEE) of core IHR capacities from July 24 to 28, 2023 at the Marriott and Pegasus Hotels in Georgetown. The external team of experts that conducted the review is Dr. Mario Libel, team lead; Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, Deputy team lead; members - Dr. Kimberley Fox, Dr. Simone Morales Raszl, Dr. Margherita Ghiselli, Dr. Ignacio Ibarra, Dr. Nicole Dawkins-Wright, Dr. Sanchez Palmer, Dr. Lucía Alonso, Dr. Emilio Leόn; and Dr. Xavier Roche, Mission Rapporteur.

Dr. Mario Libel, VEE team Leader at the far right.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Ministry of Health Advisor

Dr. Luis Codina, PAHO/WHO Representative, Guyana

In addressing the participants, Dr. Luis Codina, PAHO/WHO Representative, Guyana, stated, “We have to take the results of this evaluation with a good perspective, appreciating the process itself is a result of dedicated work and excellent collaboration between MOH, various partner agencies, and our inter-programmatic team in PAHO. We hope the findings and recommendations will serve as the solid basis for the country’s National Action Plan for Health Security”.

In response, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy emphasized that “even before the completion of the evaluation, the Government of Guyana, through MOH, was already working with PAHO and the World Bank to address many of the gaps that were mentioned in the report. The findings were unsurprising for us, and we believe we are in general alignment overall regarding what we need to prioritize moving forward.”

Meeting with staff at the Cheddie Jagan International Airport

Meeting with the Ministry of Health Staff at the Georgetown Sea Port

Meeting with staff at the John Fernandes Sea Port

From March to June 2023, PAHO also engaged other experts who guided the Ministry of Health and collaborating agencies on the self-assessment phase of the process, which focused on fifteen capacities and the Expanded Programme of Immunization. These are policy, legal and normative instruments to implement IHR; IHR coordination, National IHR Focal Point functions, and advocacy; financing; laboratory; surveillance; human resources; health emergency management; health services provision; infection prevention and control (IPC); risk communication and community engagement; points of entry and border health; zoonotic diseases; food safety; chemical events; radiation emergencies. The Ministry of Health requested that the States Parties Self-Assessment Annual Reporting tool (SPAR) be used in the process that followed the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) methodology and included immunization as among the key topics.

Evaluation session with Port Health Officers in Region 9, Lethem

Evaluation session with IHR Unit at the MoH

Evaluation session with the Surveillance Unit of the MoH

Approximately 200 delegates from multisectoral agencies, partners, and stakeholders at national, regional, and health facility levels participated in the process during the workshops and field visits. VEE is deemed vital in operationalizing and implementing Guyana’s commitment to reinforcing pandemic preparedness and response, disease elimination, the roll-out and implementation of the country’s essential health package, and the One Health approach. The recommendations will boost the actions for the wellness and health safety of the Guyanese population, its neighborhoods, countries, and the international community.