Mar 07, 2013 News
A spike in the incidence of malaria is anticipated in the mining regions of Guyana, as efforts are made to intensify the vector control operation there. This is according to officials within the Vector Control Services Department of the Ministry of Health who have explained that the bolstered effort is linked to the gold rush activities associated with the rise in the price of gold.
Since the latter part of last year the Ministry of Health has been gauging and infiltrating the mining regions with the aim of keeping the surge in malaria at bay.
Newly appointed Director of the Vector Control Services within the Health Ministry, Dr Reyaud Rahman, said that the efforts were intensified at the start of this week. He disclosed that a team, comprising a Senior Vector Control Officer, a Microscopist and a driver, from the Central Malaria Unit, was dispatched to Mahdia, Region Eight, as part of this effort which is being dubbed an Emergency Operation.
This strategic move, according to Dr Rahman, is being undertaken in collaboration with those persons employed in the Vector Control Department of the Region.
“They will be going out with our senior person as the supervisor and basically they will be doing fogging in Mahdia, indoor residual spraying, reviving of some health clubs and Community Councils and they will also be distributing some treated bed nets to mining camps,” said Dr Rahman.
The Region, since the commencement of this year, was in receipt of approximately 5,000 of these nets of which about 2,000 have already been distributed to residents and mining camps. Some of the remaining nets will be distributed to mining camps that have not yet been covered by regional vector control officers, disclosed Dr Rahman.
However, he noted that the existing efforts are sometimes undermined since some of the targets for bed nets refuse to utilise them. The treated bed nets are procured by the Ministry of Health at a cost of about US$50 each.
“A lot of people, particularly the miners, know the importance of the nets but they don’t use them. They know the importance of the nets but they prefer to leave them with family,” said the Vector Services Director.
In order to address this challenge, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with various entities, including the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, the Geology and Mines Commission and the Forestry Commission. Efforts are being made to bring on board the Forest Products Association and the Women Miners’ Association.
This move, according to Dr Rahman, is expected to “strengthen our activities. We recognise that we need partners because if the miners are not going to listen to us then we believe that other persons must come on board because at the end of the day, when they are not producing because they are not healthy it impacts these organisations and the whole country and we look as if we are not doing our job.” The Vector Services Director said that collaboration has been proving to be excellent even as he disclosed that the vector control workers have already been able to establish good relations with officials from the collaborating organisations.
“We just need to scale up our activities a bit more to make an even more meaningful impact,” added Dr Rahman.
As part of the scaled up efforts Regional Vector Control Coordinator, Keith Moore, informed that vector control teams were dispatched in a Regions-wide mission to assist the regional malaria teams in an attempt to carry out some surveys.
This, he said, is required since there are limitations in the Region in this regard. “So we will go to all of the Regions in the areas we consider to be hot spot areas…those are areas where there is large transmission of malaria and we will carry out interventions like spraying, mass blood surveys and investigations,” disclosed Moore, who has been within the department for more than four decades.
With Mahdia and its surrounding areas being the initial target, Moore revealed that there are plans to move on to the Kamarang area as well. “When we are finished we will go to other areas specifically Regions One, Seven and Parts of Region Nine too. So our plate will be quite filled for a couple of months…”
He intimated that there is likely to be a noticeable spike of cases since the mission will see the vector control teams reaching to locations that were previously inaccessible.
“We will see some positive cases, so before it dips it will get higher and you know when cases start to rush up everybody will say there is a problem….but it is just that we are covering areas that were never covered before.”
Once treated, the cases will dissipate, Moore noted, even as he made reference to plans to include parts of Region Ten in this initiative.
According to Senior Operating Inspector, David Williams, among the areas in Region Ten to be visited are 58 Miles and 47 Miles where there are mining areas that have been affecting most of the people that live there.
“What you find now is that people are getting infected because of the mining activities so we will be spraying and doing mass smears there as well.”
He noted that although such works were done there in the past, this has not been the case for a while. He explained that the residents there had previously been involved in timber work but now most are engaged in gold mining since the rise in the gold price.
“Now everybody just leaving the timber industry and are going into mining and people from all parts of the country who are at high risk of malaria are coming there to work and the vector is present there and the disease is spreading,” added Williams.
Jagdeo will sell Exxon iron to take care of oil spill in Guyana
Feb 23, 2024Kaieteur Sports – The Edward B. Beharry Limited has reaffirmed its commitment to support youth basketball in the nation, with a simple sponsorship presentation to the Youth Basketball Guyana...
By Sir Ronald Sanders In today’s complex global landscape, peace and prosperity face significant threats due to a blatant... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.