Renewed focus in being placed on Leprosy prevention in Guyana
20 medical personnel on Wednesday (September 07, 2016) began training on the prevention of Leprosy and other related issues as the Ministry of Public Health works to ensure there is no resurgence of the disease.
Known as Hansen’s Disease, leprosy is caused by a type of bacteria (mycobacterium leprae) that multiplies very slowly.
The National Leprosy Program collaborated with the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) to launch the one-week training.
Dr. Heather Morris-Wilson of the Public Health Skin Clinic explained that the training program is important because studies have shown that countries with a low disease burden often see a loss of expertise in related fields, or in other cases, reduced budgetary allocations from Governments. This she notes lead to a resurgence of the disease.
“Guyana has also eliminated Leprosy as a Public Health problem, meaning that we have reduced the prevalence of Leprosy to less than one case per 10,000 population but this does not mean that we have to slacken our effort in this regard,” Dr. Morris-Wilson said.
Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO’s Country representative Dr. William Adu-Krow pointed out that the training also aims to align Guyana’s national leprosy prevention strategy with the global strategy, to achieve the target of zero disabilities in paediatric patients by the year 2020.
Following the completion of the training, health care workers will be able to early recognise threats of the disease, thereby, prevent or minimise impairments.
Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton said participants were not only drawn from the coast but from hinterland regions as well.
The training is being facilitated by occupational therapist, Linda Lehman and Dermatologist/Leprologist, Dr Jaison Barreto.
Dr. Baretto disclosed that the America is faced with 30, 000 new cases of Leprosy every year.