Filaria, leprosy among ‘neglected diseases’ Guyana seeking to eliminate

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Local health authorities are expanding the healthcare services offered across Guyana and Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says that there will be an increased focus on eliminating several neglected diseases.

Infectious diseases such as filaria, leprosy, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis are among those neglected diseases the Health Minister said Guyana is seeking to eliminate.

Already, Guyana has completed its final filaria mass drug administration (MDA) where a large section of the population was given anti-filaria pills. Now, Dr. Anthony said that the World Health Organization (WHO) is verifying Guyana’s MDA efforts and will determine if the country has been able to rid itself from the disease.

And so, the local health authorities will focus on the elimination of the other neglected diseases. The Pan- American Health Organization (PAHO) says that neglected diseases and vector-borne diseases are a set of infectious diseases that primarily affect the most vulnerable populations.

And Dr. Anthony emphasised, “We are coming up with a plan of how to eliminate these diseases.”

Mental health care, detecting new and emerging types of diseases and treating chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers will also be part of the focus of the local health authorities.

“These are becoming the big burdens that we have, so we have to come up with plans that tackle these types of diseases,” Dr. Anthony said.

Because of the prevalence of NCDs in Guyana, specific focus is already being directed towards improving primary healthcare across the country. Currently, a national package of essential services for all health institutions is being developed.

But it is not only that a “one size fits all” package of services will be created; Dr. Anthony said that each region will have its own specialised plan too.

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