Health Ministry to launch anti-malaria campaign next month

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The Vector Control Services (VCS) at the Ministry of Public Health will be embarking on an anti-malaria campaign in four interior Regions of Guyana which are known as hubs for malaria transmission.

In a statement from the Ministry, it was disclosed that 91,000 insecticide-treated bed and hammock nets will be distributed in Regions one, seven, eight and nine.

The 91,000 treated nets were procured with financing from the Guyanese government and Global Fund. Dr Horace Cox, Director (ag) of the VCS said 57,000 of the nets are slated for permanent residents and the remaining 34,000 for the mobile population comprising mainly miners and loggers

The National Malaria Programme will spearhead the distribution campaign which will begin in Region nine on June 03 and conclude in Region eight on June 30.

According to the ministry, in the last five years, Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 have accounted for more than 95 percent of all malaria cases in Guyana.

The treated nets are being transported with help from the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Forestry Commission, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and the National Miners Syndicate (NMS) of Guyana.

The ministry said the last Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) carried out in 2014, 31 percent of the population that resides in the affected Regions had access to the treated nets.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the use of insecticide-treated nets has contributed significantly to the reduction of the global incidence of malaria during the past decade.

The public health ministry said its anti-malaria campaign faces several setbacks which include limited access to health services in some villages, common use of bush medications by residents and the lack of mosquito repellents in the affected regions.

It was also raised by the Ministry that residents “do not complete the recommended dose of treatment even though the treatment is free” while houses in the interior offer “very little protection from mosquitoes.”

Illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries also pose some threats since they were found to be often times fearful to approach local health facilities for treatment.

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