The H1N1 (Swine Flu) situation remains stable in Guyana. There are still only 26 confirmed cases in the country, according to Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who noted that a total of 200 specimens have already been tested.
Of that number, the Health Ministry is awaiting the results of 26 of the specimens.
While this is in process, health workers continue to monitor persons who are suspected to have the virus.
It was explained that as soon as a doctor suspects that a person is infected with the virus, that individual is placed on treatment, since the Ministry does not await confirmation on this.
The process of confirmation is reported to be a rather long process, since the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) in Trinidad only accepts six specimens to be tested at one time from Guyana.
CAREC is the only certified health centre in the Caribbean to test for the virus. Although Guyana will have the capacity to test for the virus, Minister Ramsammy said the specimens will also still be tested at the centre for a short period of time, in order to verify the accuracy.
Recently, the Ministry of Health sourced $8 million from its partners to establish the capacity to conduct the H1N1 testing in Guyana instead of sending its specimens overseas. It was noted that the money was not sourced from regular budget of the Health Ministry and that the government was not asked for assistance in sourcing the money.
Upon the emergence of the virus, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) gave a sum of money to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to help the region respond to the H1N1 virus.
From that sum of money, Guyana is benefiting in a number of ways, including the expansion of the DNA testing capacity and now the capability to test for the virus.
Meanwhile, Minister Ramsammy is still optimistic that the H1N1 vaccine will arrive in Guyana some time in January 2010. He noted that there are no signs indicating that there will be another delay in the shipment.
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