Elimination of HIV, malaria & leprosy attainable throughout Guyana – Health Minister


Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday told Regional Health Officers to maintain a proactive approach in ensuring Guyana eliminates several diseases including the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and malaria by 2030.

Addressing the Regional Health Officers at the Ministry of Health’s Boardroom, the minister reminded them that Guyana has agreed to meet international targets and eliminate malaria, HIV, and leprosy.

“Each one of you at the regional level, has a unique opportunity to transform what health looks like in that region,” the Health Minister said.

He explained that through an evaluation of the country’s healthcare system, conducted by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), 216 interventions are required.

Now, the ministry intends to broaden its efforts and support across the country to meet primary healthcare targets.

Doctors and Regional Officials in attendance at the opening ceremony for the Regional Health Officers Meeting (Photo: News Room/ July 17, 2023)

Over the next three days, the RHOs will discuss the country’s national health response to many ailments. Dr Anthony reminded that the ministry is focused on controlling the spread of HIV by 2030. He said some $100 million will be allocated to each region to cater for infrastructure and training.

He also told the RHOs that with the transformation of the healthcare system, there is no reason for some regions to have access to programmes and medications while others are without.

The minister further noted that in relation to malaria, the ministry distributed several bed nets and insecticides. For regions where persons sleep in hammocks, special nets for these were provided.

In addition, the minister encouraged persons to take their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. He said the vaccines are available and that all necessary precautions must be taken. He also reminded that the country has the paxlovid medication which is used to treat COVID-19

Other areas that will be discussed during the three-day conference include ensuring that healthcare is implemented within the school system, therefore ensuring that children are incorporating healthcare early in their life.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Narine Singh and Dr Gavinash Persaud, the Regional Health Officer for Region Four (Photo: News Room/ July 17, 2023)

Already a manual that incorporates the necessary protocols of the country’s primary healthcare system for professionals to follow. There is also a health screening programme being implemented as of July to ensure that eye care and other issues are diagnosed early. Dr. Anthony said the ministry also wants to encourage both male and female children to get their HPV vaccination.

“This must be a prominent program in all the regions in vaccinations.

“It is necessary because when we look at our cervical cancer rates, for example, cervical cancer among women is the second most prominent cancer, more prevalent cancer that we have breast cancer being the number one and so by doing number two.” Dr Anthony said.

According to Dr Anthony, the telemedicine programme will be expanded to cover 19 facilities by this month’s end. The response for treating diabetes, mental illnesses and mental health provisions will also be discussed as interventions will soon be implemented.

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