Jan 07, 2021 News
– Case trackers to be trained for each region – CMO
Kaieteur News – Guyana is set to receive a boost in its capacity to track cases of the deadly Coronavirus/COVID-19 disease. With support from the United States–based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Narine Singh, disclosed that the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) surveillance unit will be able to train persons to specifically work as COVID-19 case trackers or contact tracers.
The CMO noted that this is an important component to the fight against the spread of the deadly disease since it will help the Ministry to keep tabs on the activities of infected persons in order to keep them from further spreading the disease.
Dr. Singh explained that “in other words, the more case trackers we have, the better we will be able to conduct surveillance on the infected persons and possibly control the spread of the virus by follow-up calls, checks and so on.” The CMO said that the initiative forms part of the support project for the US-based health department. He explained that the CDC had signed a cooperative agreement with the Ministry of Health to help improve its fight against the deadly disease.
As a result, Dr. Singh said that the Ministry has received financing from the CDC to assist with its COVID-19 crisis response activities, since COVID-19 has been declared a health emergency globally.
According to the CMO, the CDC has pledged to support a number of activities in Guyana in order to support acceleration, planning and operational readiness for COVID-19 preparedness and response.
The CDC, he said, intends to allocate part of the funding to pay for the provision of case trackers’ services.
According to the CMO, vacancies exist for COVID-19 cases trackers to operate in the 10 administrative regions. He noted that at present there are five case trackers in training. The case trackers will be trained to boost capacity in each region.
At present, case trackers are needed for One, Seven, Eight, Nine and 10.
From the inception of the global pandemic, international health organizations have been pushing for case trackers’ initiatives to be implemented as a more effective method of addressing issues of COVID-19 in the Regions of the Americas – of which Guyana is included.
Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) had declared case tracking as an effective disease control strategy to identify cases and their contacts to then work with them to interrupt disease transmission.
According to the two global health agencies, by definition, case tracking involves the process which prevents further transmission of the disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not, which includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.
Last August, a case for case tracking had been presented to the local Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) — the committee which is directly responsible for the testing and monitoring of COVID-19, across the 10 administrative regions.
The HEOC noted, however, that while the committee agrees with the recommendations for more follow-up surveillance, specifically tracking of coronavirus cases, the initiative required more personnel; a resource which was not readily available at the time.
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