Ministry of Education, Guyana

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Saturday, 30 September 2017 13:49

Ministry of Education joins forces with Ministry of Public Health to stamp out Filaria

news 20170930 5The Ministry of Education on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 formalized its support to eradicate Filaria in Guyana. This was done at the Lymphatic Filariasis Mass Drug Administration (MDA) Launch and Prize Giving Ceremony held at the Square of the Revolution. 

The Ministry of Education decided to collaborate with the Ministry of Public Health on the Lymphatic Filariasis Mass Drug Administration programme since based on studies, it was found that the age group that did not meet the 65 per cent mark for taking medication to fight the infection were children.
Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry MP while delivering remarks at the launch said that the Ministry of Education believes that it is an excellent idea to partner with the Ministry of Public Health on this venture.
Referencing to the World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee, Minister Henry said that school health education and promotion is intimate to educational achievement, quality of life and economic productivity. news 20170930 1
Minister Henry went on to describe how the Ministry of Education will be assisting the campaign. “With this initiative, the Mass Drug Administration Campaign against Filaria and every parent or guardian will be furnished with a form that has some very important information on the campaign as well as a detachable sheet that you as parents and guardians will be required to fill-out and return to the child’s class teacher, if they feel so strongly about their child not being given tablets to prevent this disease.”
She added that in October, Ministry of Public Health staff will be distributing the tablets that will be given to each child. The Minister also gave tips that parents employ to play an active role in ensuring the continued good health of their children.
“You have to observe your child for signs of worm infestation, we have to teach healthy practices such as regular hand washing especially after playing or using the toilet and before eating. We also encourage the use of shoes or footwear when they are out playing in the yard.
We also want to advocate that we encourage the participation in school health activities so that they can learn more and stay healthy throughout their life.”
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings said that since the launch of the MDA programme in Guyana in 2003, many Guyanese have benefited in a number of ways resulting in a significant reduction of new cases of Lymphatic Filariasis. news 20170930 4
“Though there have been some peripheral challenges in the initial rollout of the MDA programme in Guyana, I’m very pleased that this programme has prevailed. The staff involved in the conduct of this programme must be commended for being committed to established goals and objectives.”
She said that the initiative is aimed at promoting the available medical solutions to combat Lymphatic Filariasis. The Minister said that the infection is a leading cause of long-term disability worldwide among men and women.
“People with this disease can suffer pain, disfigurement and sexual disability. Many women of visible signs of this disease will never marry or their spouses and family will reject them. news 20170930 2
Eradicating this disease in Guyana is a paramount priority of the Ministry of Public Health. Therefore, it is very important that shared interventions such as health, education, community-based action, distribution of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets and mass drug administration form part of the affirmative action to be taken.”
Giving an overview of the MDA programme was Dr. Fabu Moses. She said that the Ministry of Public Health has long been involved in the fight against Lymphatic Filariasis. However, it has been noted that very few people appreciate the economic and social burden that is caused by the chronic signs of the infection. “It is accompanied by social stigma and economic hardship.”news 20170930 3
She said that in Guyana there is still a 90 per cent risk of infection and that there are 15 new cases at the clinic and two return cases. According to the doctor, this brings the total patient administration to under 200 patients.
Based on a review meeting held last year, Dr. Moses said that it was made clear that children need to be targeted. “We need to ensure a bright future for our children but it also brought to light that we need to ensure that everyone in Guyana has access to the pills.”
Further, Pan American Health Organisation and World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative for the Guyana Country Office, Dr. William Adu-Krow said that if everything is done right Guyana can eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 20170930 6
He said that the MDA programme will reduce the density of parasites circulating in the blood of infected persons and the prevalence of the infection within communities to such low levels that transmission cannot be sustained and new infections eventually cease.
Also speaking at the event was Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud who said that the number of infected persons has decreased significantly. “From more than 150 patients that we were seeing in the mid-2000s, now they are only about fifteen patients that have to be actively managed at the clinic. Last year there were only 82 surgeries for hydrocele as compared to 447 in 2005.”news 20170930 7
He added, “For us to achieve elimination we need to reach less than one per cent of the population with any form of infection. The last estimate we had was about 4.5 per cent from about 48 per cent. We’ve have actually done a lot of the work already. This final push is really to get to those last few people that might be infected with filaria.”


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