300+ cases of malaria already recorded for the year in Reg. 9

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As Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) battles with increasing floodwaters and the overarching COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Chairman, Brian Allicock, highlighted that the region is also faced with an increased number of malaria cases.

On Tuesday, he told the News Room that more than 200 cases of malaria have been recorded for the year so far. For context, in 2020, the Region recorded 954 cases.  However, the Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, said that the number is much higher and reported that there have been 349 cases of malaria recorded between January and April of this year.

Seeking to combat the spread and infection of malaria, the minister, on Monday, handed over 17,300 insecticide-treated mosquito nets which will be able to kill any mosquitos that land on them. Most of Guyana’s cases of malaria are recorded in the hinterland regions.

“The bed nets that we are giving out is a specially designed net that has insecticide that is embedded into the net and therefore, when a mosquito lights on this bed net, they would actually absorb the insecticide and it would die and by so doing we are going to reduce the population of mosquitoes,” the minister said on Monday, while in Region Nine.

This Lethem resident displays her insecticide-treated bed net (Photo: DPI)

It was also explained that the insecticide remains on the nets for three years, even if they are washed.  The minister also said all the villages in Region Nine will benefit from a number of nets.

Dr Anthony also said malaria remains a major challenge in Region Nine. In 2020, the region recorded 954 positive cases and 739 cases the previous year. Between January and April 2021, some 349 cases have already been recorded.

Meanwhile, Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr Nial Uthman, said the region is taking every step to eradicate malaria.

“I urge all of us to embrace this effort, to spread the word as we would commonly say, to ensure that not only the members of our family, but our neighbours, our friends embrace this campaign.

And ensure that they utilise the mosquito nets so that we can achieve not only this goal of eliminating malaria by the year 2025, but ensuring that we can, as you know health is delivered in a well-coordinated and integrated manner, but this will contribute significantly to other diseases [reduction] in the region.”

Dr Anthony said in 2020, Guyana registered 18,430 cases of malaria, with most infections found in Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten.

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