Monkeypox outbreak needs international response – Health Minister


Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony says the public health emergency declaration for monkeypox was necessary for an international, coordinated response to the global outbreak.

During his daily COVID-19 update on Monday, the Minister said at the time of the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO), some 16,000 cases were detected in 75 countries. Guyana does not have any detected cases, the Minister said.

“I think once the WHO has declared a public health emergency then that helps to galvanise the international community to have a coordinated approach on how they tackle the particular disease. In this case, there is a need for a more coordinated international response to monkeypox,” Dr Anthony said.

He added that countries implement their own individual ways to respond to the outbreaks but he emphasised that the number of cases recorded globally is reason enough for a worldwide coordinated response.

The minister said that the experts at WHO could not acquire a consensus hence, the director general made the declaration without the advice of the panel of experts.

“The experts at WHO had met in June. However, they were not able to come up with a consensus and then when they meet back again last week, they were unable to come up with a consensus.”

“Because they were delayed in arriving at a consensus, the director general of the WHO made this declaration without the advice of the panel of experts, but I think now that we have this declaration, it’s going to help to coordinate the international efforts,” Dr Anthony said.

A committee of experts is expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the declaration and response to the virus outbreak.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony (Photo: News Room/July 12, 2022)

Previously, the minister said medical personnel in the country were sent to Jamaica to train in treatment and diagnosis of the virus. The minister said that these efforts were made to ensure that the country is prepared in the event of a case being detected.

The global monkeypox outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern by WHO on Saturday. This declaration was made just two years after the most recent declaration of this kind, for Covid-19, which was given the same label by the WHO in 2020.

On Monday at 16:30 hrs, the Ministry of Health will host a monkeypox sensitisation session at its Brickdam location.

This session will provide persons with knowledge of the virus and how it spreads. Experts have stressed that anyone can get monkeypox as it spreads by close or intimate contact.

The viral infection is typically found in animals in central and western Africa, although it can cause outbreaks in humans. While countries in Europe have been hardest hit, cases have also been reported in the US, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Israel, Brazil and Mexico among others.


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