Health Ministry strengthening surveillance to combat cholera
It has been just short of a month since there have been reports of cholera in some parts of Cuba, and this country’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud has confirmed that there have not been any indications of Guyanese students being affected.
Dr. Persaud in a recent interview explained that the situation has been contained.
He noted that since 2010 when there was an outbreak in Haiti, the Health Ministry here had created an action plan to prevent the disease from entering these shores.
“Of course you know that we had a previous encounter with this disease and if you may recall back in 1992 during the South American outbreak, the disease had spread to the North West District and we were able to contain it to that area after a year, reducing the number of deaths to a minimum”.
This time around, Dr. Persaud said, the Ministry has put several measures in place, as they are currently working to develop the Port Vigilance System.”…meaning that persons coming into Guyana will have to be screened, on each arriving aircraft will have a general health declaration, so if a passenger comes in with any symptoms similar to those of cholera our team can monitor that person.”
By this declaration, Dr. Persaud said they will be able to significantly decrease if not totally eliminate the possibility of persons bringing the disease to Guyana.
Further he stated that the Ministry is also strengthening its local surveillance system.
“We have a system whereby each health facility, including the private sector, reports on syndromes such as gastroenteritis, fever, vomiting and diarrhea on a weekly basis, but now we will be enhancing that system so that these agencies will submit a daily report.”
He added that from these reports the Ministry will be better able to detect any cases at an early stage since the National Public Health Reference Laboratory has the capability to do tests for cholera.
“Once we keep that vigilance up we hope that we won’t miss any cases”.
Further, Dr. Persaud encouraged that parents do their part in containing the spread of the disease since it has a lot to do with hygienic practices.
“I encourage you to ensure that you get your children to wash their hands before and after every meal; that you practice proper hygiene when it comes to food preparation and food storage.”