– continues to fight malaria
The Ministry of Health, as at last weekend, has said that there has been a significant reduction in t reported cases of dengue.
At a recent press conference Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, said that at the end of eight weeks of epidemiological monitoring last year there were 231 reported cases of dengue as against 91 cases during the similar period of this year.
However, the Minister noted that efforts must be directed at sustaining this spate of reduction in order to bring dengue under major control on a countrywide scale.
He pointed out that although the climate change impact is still lending to Regional increases, efforts at the local level have helped to shield Guyana from the overall increases that have been surfacing in the Region of the Americas.
However, it is the Minister’s belief that there could be total control of dengue “if we continue to work together to control the vector, in this case Aedes Aegypti.”
According to the Minister, control teams have been working, mainly in the Georgetown area, and have been visiting homes on a regular basis. He disclosed though that teams have been observing that a significant amount of tanks and other containers are left open and are therefore increasing the number of breeding sites.
“I am still at a loss to understand the fascination and the romantic connection Guyanese have with tyres. We seem to have a huge fascination and an affinity for tyres. We don’t seem to know or want to get rid of them; we cut them up and we just throw them at the sides of our yards…
“These are perfect breeding sites for Aedes Aegypti and they represent a major risk for dengue in our country.” There is also a need for persons to adopt the habit of treating waters that accumulate in tanks, plant pots and small pools of water with ABATE, an insecticide for the control of mosquito larvae.
And while it has been a struggle to address the dengue causing vector, Minister Ramsammy reported that the Ministry has seen annual reduction of malaria over the years.
“We have done a fantastic job bringing malaria under control,” the Minister boasted. He revealed that as at the end of 2009 the Ministry had seen approximately 80 to 90 percent reduction of malaria compared to 2005.
In the early 1990s the Ministry of Health had documented 90,000 cases of malaria on an annual, at a time when there was about a 40 to 60 percent underreporting. In actual fact, the Minister said that there were between 120,000 and 140,000 cases per year. However, by 2005 the Ministry was able to reduce the cases to about 42,000 with significant improvements in its information system to guard against the potential of underreporting.
By the end of 2009 there was further reduction of cases evident by the 11,000 that were reported.
However, the consecutive rate of reduction of malaria was interrupted last year when the prevalence of cases soared, Minister Ramsammy disclosed. Moreover measures were implemented to address this challenge which has since lend to a reduction of about 20 percent from last year as at the end of the eight epidemiological week of this year.
“At the end of the eight week last year we had about 3,300 and up to the end of the eight week this year we have just over 2,000 cases so we have had a significant reduction of malaria.”
According to the Minister, over the last week he had met with all of the Regional Health Officers and other senior officers from Regions One, Two, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten in an attempt to realise further reduction of malaria.
And there have been certain lines of action that have been agreed upon which would see the utilisation of Rapid Response teams. The response teams had been formed in response to increase cases in September of last year and were tasked with visiting the regions to seek out certain hot spots and to work along with the local teams.
“We are providing support to the regions in their struggle to control malaria. We will continue to do so and ensure that we return to the trajectory of decline for malaria.”
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