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Guyana gears up for future pandemics

Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, Julian Smith, FAO representative, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mr Malcolm Watkins; Dr Veronica Griffith, Deputy Director of Regional Health Services; Ms Sonia Roberts, Director of Health Sectors Development Unit; Dr Vishwa Mahadeo, Director General of Regional Health Services (Photo: MOH)

The Ministry of Health, the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) signed a US$1M One Health agenda contract to update the Performance of Veterinary Services.

The covid-19 pandemic was a stark reminder for the world that health care systems must not only be resilient, but continuously strengthened to ensure early detection and fast response to threats that may arise.

These are sentiments expressed by Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony as he emphasised the need to update Guyana's Performance of Veterinary Services.

“We know that if we are to be prepared for future pandemics, we will have to put in place early warning systems and systems that can easily detect emerging infections. And so, this new system that we are focusing on would help us to be able to do that in a very timely way,”

The Health Minister further highlighted that an early warning system would make it easier to detect emerging infections.

Adviser to the Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy (Photo: MOH)

Adviser to the Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy says this one million US dollar support from the World Bank for a contemporary version of the PVS is much needed, given that the last PVS was released in 2008.

“In many ways, the recent COVID-19 pandemic resulted from the zoonotic disease. It is not the only one. Some of the neglected tropical diseases that Guyana is now set to eliminate have a zoonotic origin.

“It is for that reason that the zoonotic lab and the zoonotic surveillance system are critical. A public health veterinary service assessment, evaluation, and strengthening are critical to this component,”

This initiative forms part of the ‘One Health’ agenda, to promote the highest international food standard through the integration and advancement of the country’s food chain.

It is meant to achieve optimal health outcomes through the recognition of the interconnectivity between people, animals, and plants within their shared environment.


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