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Major collaboration ongoing to combat malaria in Guyana

The Government of Guyana is teaming up with a number of reputable organisations and universities to carry out studies aimed at reducing the transmission of malaria here.  

With an alarming 14,786 cases recorded from a total of 61,663 tests so far for the year, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, said the government is going at length to fight the disease.

“So, we have a collaboration right now with the Harvard School of Public Health. They are helping us to do a number of studies as it relates to the transmission of malaria, modeling the disease and using new techniques to understand how to reduce transmission,” the health minister said Friday.

Through funding from the Gates Foundation, molecular surveillances of the types of malaria parasites are currently ongoing.

“We want to understand whether that is happening in Guyana, as it did in other parts of the world, and if it is happening, then we’ll have to change our treatment schedules to make sure that whatever medicines that we’re using are effective in eliminating malaria,” Dr. Anthony said.

The government has also partnered with Oxford University and the University of Capetown to assist Guyana in its elimination campaign.

The health minister said a customised approach has been adopted to combat the disease in especially Regions Seven and Nine, which have a high prevalence of the disease.

“You know, very often when we apply our malaria strategy, we tend to have a one size fit all but the peculiarities of the region might not allow for such an approach to work properly and so what we’ve done is to customise an approach in Region Nine and in Region Seven for the elimination of malaria and we have been implementing that.”

In addition, the government has been working along with the International Office for Migration (IOM) to access hard-to-reach communities.

“And we are subcontracting them on the global funding grant that we currently have. So, they are going to help us to train people in those communities to work with them on malaria elimination activity,” he said.

The government recently embarked on the distribution of insecticide-impregnated bed nets, to further prevent the transmission of the disease.

A total of 57,076 bed-nets have so far been distributed in Regions One, Seven and Nine. An additional 74,000 will be distributed in various parts of the country before the end of the year.



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