The Regional Administration and Stakeholders of the North West, Region One unanimously endorsed a proposal to be submitted to the Global Fund which seeks funding to boost Guyana’s response to malaria prevention and control in Region One.
The endorsement came at a meeting hosted by the Country Co-ordinating Mechanism (CCM) of the Global Fund last Wednesday at the Mabaruma sub-district, Region One, to consult with stakeholders on the strategies, objectives and activities of the proposal.
The meeting was attended by the Regional Chairman, Fermin Singh; Vice Chair Paul Pierre; Regional Executive Officer, Mary Williams; Councillors and others representing all the three sub-districts of Region One.
This proposal seeks funding from Round Eight of the Global Fund on Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. It is the fourth time that Guyana is applying for support for its malaria programme.
The visiting team, led by Mr. Fredrick Cox, Vice Chair of the CCM, explained that a team of resource persons, including the Director of the Global Fund Malaria Programme, Mr. Indal Rambajan, has begun the process of preparing a proposal. However, it is a prerequisite that consultations be held with stakeholders of Region One before the proposal could be finalized and submitted.
“We cannot sit centrally and prepare the proposal. The Global Fund wants to see evidence that the people in Region One agree that malaria is a problem in the area and that the Region agrees with the proposal being submitted,” he said at the meeting at the Mabaruma Conference Centre.
Mr. Rambajan explained that the proposal seeks a wide array of assistance for the sub-districts of Matarkai (Matthews Ridge, Port Kaituma & Arakaka), Mabaruma and Moruca, with emphasis on requests for impregnated bed nets, funding to improve diagnostic capacity and capability, land and river transportation, training/retraining and surveillance, an IEC component as well as distribution of anti-malaria drugs and equipment, including microscopes to conduct screening for malaria.
He noted that should the proposal be accepted by the Global Fund, Community Malaria Councils and Malaria School Committees in Region One similar to those in Regions Seven and Eight and now proposed for Region Nine would be introduced and established as part of the expansion of community involvement and participation.
He stressed that these inputs into the Region One malaria programme will not be made all at once, but rather, incrementally over a five-year period to ensure sustainability and avoid opportunities for possible misuse.
The team also fielded questions from participants, who agreed unanimously with the proposed requests and noted that the impregnated bed nets, proper surveillance and improved access to far-flung areas would go a far way in reducing, if not eliminating the incidence/prevalence of malaria in the Region, which accounts for a significant portion of Guyana’s land mass. The Representatives of Region One all signed the motion agreeing for the CCM to submit the proposal to the Global Fund.
The Global Fund was established in 2001 through a multi-country agreement and allocated resources to its members in 2003 to fight tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. In Guyana, funding (about US$2.5 million) was secured for anti-malaria programmes in Regions Seven and Eight, where a record high 75 percent reduction in malaria incidence was noted following a combination of effective and efficient interventions, including the distribution of long-lasting impregnated bed nets and Coartem (an anti–malaria drug) over the last two-year period.
Guyana successfully submitted a proposal in 2007 for Region Nine, which will now have a strong anti-malaria programme. The current proposal will be submitted shortly and the CCM should be notified later this year whether it was successful. However, Mr.
Rambajan expressed optimism that the proposal would be successful.
He noted that when Guyana secures these additional resources, the field workers would be in a better position to diagnose, treat, monitor and evaluate malaria cases, “but this does not eliminate the responsibility of individuals in fighting malaria since it is an unpredictable infection.
“The disease is difficult to control because the vector has no barrier. Malaria should be everybody’s business. When you get the nets, you have to use them,” he urged.
Also at the meeting was Executive Director of the Health Sector Development Unit
(HSDU), which is the implementing agency for the Global Fund in Guyana, Mr. Keith Burrowes. He gave a brief overview about the facilitating role of the HSDU and its role on the administrative and financial inputs with the International Donor Agencies such as IDB, USAID, PAHO/WHO, World Bank, UNICEF and the Global Fund.
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