Health authorities in Guyana and Suriname are looking to match their response to COVID-19 at the ports of entry to restart the ferry service.
Guyana’s Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony said he and a team on Thursday met with Surinamese Public Health Minister Amar Ramadhin and a delegation from the neighbouring country where the issue was discussed.
“One of the things that we want to do is to ensure our protocols are in sync so that when the border crossing reopens our port health authorities can exchange information and that people can travel safely from one country to another; those discussions we are going to continue to have them so that we can synchonise our protocols on reopening our border crossing dealing with COVID,” Dr. Anthony said in his COVID-19 update disseminated by the Department of Public Information.
A working committee was set up by the two countries to look at this and other issues relating to health.
The resumption of the ferry service is also hampered by the non-functioning of the Vessel which experienced mechanical issues shortly before the pandemic.
According to a communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Friday, the Ministers have agreed that the issues affecting the resumption of the MV Canawaima Ferry Service need to be urgently and jointly addressed in anticipation of the resumption of the movement of goods and people between South Drain and Moleson Creek.
To this end, the ministries said: “the bodies responsible for the Canawaima Ferry Service will be directed to immediately commence discussions and activities to ensure that the MV Canawaima is available for operations as soon as the Ministers of Health of Guyana and Suriname declare that it is safe to do so.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony disclosed that the neighbouring states are looking to collaborate on treatment for infectious diseases including HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Non Communicable Diseases.
“We’ve also talked about the possibility of our hospitals collaborating; we do particular types of speciality care that might not be available in Suriname and vice versa, maybe we can send patients to them for some speciality care,” he said.
In addition, the neighbouring country has specialized courses which are available to their nurses and doctors. Guyana is looking to access those courses for local health workers.
The Surinamese delegation departed Guyana on Friday and a second meeting is scheduled for next week which will be virtual.