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Guyana’s ‘One Health’ emerging as a regional leader in health preparedness

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – The blog, titled “Progressing in partnership: Guyana’s health preparedness win”, has recognised that Guyana is emerging as a regional leader in health preparedness, meantime, the government, through the ministry of health, will be expanding its telemedicine capabilities to 80 health posts and centres in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), by the end of the year.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Guyana’s dynamic partnership with the World Bank, the ministry of health, and the ministry of finance led to the creation of the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project. This comprehensive project was embraced by several international partners, such as the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Today, the project is a testament to the government’s steadfast commitment to proactive healthcare and a gleaming example to other countries. The project has concluded and achieved its objective to prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in Guyana.

“Beyond COVID-19, Guyana is on the path to regional leadership. Its trajectory toward becoming a regional leader in One Health is eminent. Participation in regional initiatives, training, and a seat at the Pandemic Fund Governing Board highlight Guyana’s commitment to knowledge sharing and international collaboration,” the blog stated.

Guyana’s One Health initiative was launched last year and recognises that many health threats originate at the intersection of human, animal, and environmental health. By looking at these areas together, Guyana can identify and address risks more effectively.

Minister of health, Dr Frank Anthony has emphasised that a comprehensive approach must be taken to achieve the objectives of the initiative.

“When we think about the consequences if we don’t have this approach, it can really be devastating and COVID-19 is just one of those reminders that this is real. Instead of thinking about human health as just working within the human population to get health, we have to think about those interconnections,” the minister said during a meeting last year.

The initiative promotes improved coordination and collaboration across sectors, shifting from disease-specific programs to broader system-strengthening initiatives.

Guyana has already established a National One Health Committee, and finalised a National Action Plan for Health Security to realise this vision.

According to the blog post, these strategic partnerships and the country’s commitment to innovation in transforming the health landscape make it an inspiration and a leader in the One Health initiative within the region.

Health ministry to establish 80 telemedicine sites by year-end

In 2023, 25 telemedicine sites were established in the hinterland to provide specialised care to the locals.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said another 25 sites will be operational within two months, with the overarching goal of creating 80 telemedicine sites by the end of 2024.

Telemedicine is a method of two-way, real-time interactive communication between a patient and healthcare provider at different locations. It is supported by audio and video equipment, as well as integrated medical devices to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients remotely.

This is particularly beneficial in Guyana’s case, where Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Medics can liaise with experts from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and other secondary health institutions, using medical and electronic communication devices.

The telemedicine program was officially launched in 2022, with four Amerindian communities in Region Nine (Masakenari, Nappi, Yupukari, and Parikawarinau) piloting the programme.

The programme was later expanded to 25 communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight, Nine, and 10, with the allocation of $1.8 billion in the ministry’s 2023 budget.

The implementation of the telemedicine program is part of a holistic government effort to transform Guyana’s healthcare system to match international standards.



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