Improved surveillance, laboratory services key to detect, contain future pandemics-Dr Anthony


To prevent and prepare for future health challenges, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said investments will be made to improve surveillance and laboratory services.

“We really want to build a system where we can respond; so surveillance and labs and everything must be geared to doing this.

“These are areas that we need to invest in,” Dr Anthony said.

And the Government, is hoping to achieve this with collaboration with other agencies through the One Health initiative.

“This one health agenda is very important because we see this is the logical way in which we can make out country very resilient and the investments that we are going to make overtime are going to be to improve surveillance, increase human capacity,” Dr Anthony said.

He was at the time delivering remarks at the inaugural One Health meeting on Monday morning at the Pegasus Hotel.

One Health is a policy that aims to prevent and prepare for current and future health challenges at the human-animal-environment interface by fostering collaboration and coordination across governance frameworks of human, animal, plant and environmental health programs.

In March 2022, Ministry of Health requested the support of PAHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) to collaborate in implementing key activities to strengthen the One Health approach in the country.

Dr Anthony specifically pointed out the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 which, he said has left long term effects on those who were infected and the country’s economy.

“If all countries in the world do not have strong surveillance systems and systems to response, then these things are going to spread very quickly and we need to know so that we can respond appropriately,” he said.

As such, it said it is important to develop systems to prepare for future occurrences.

“…Whether it’s putting in better surveillance systems to detect them…that is going to be very important as we move forward,” Dr Anthony said.

He further that talks are ongoing to develop the capacity at the National Public Health to be able to conduct genetic sequencing to track mutations.

“Ultimately we would like to have that capacity and not just for Guyana but to serve as one of the reference centers for the Caribbean…Its important if we are going to develop this next generation of surveillance to be able to have this capacity,” he noted.

The One Health inaugural meeting intends to reintroduce and reinforce the implementation of the One Health approach in Guyana among key partners and stakeholders as a strategy for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response and as a mechanism to enable the country in its universal health coverage and disease elimination targets.

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