Just three months into the year, the Malaria Department of the Guyana Ministry of Health has already conceded that it is losing the battle against the disease. This proclamation was made by Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy on Saturday, March 20, 2010.
The goal for this year was not to hold the incidence of Malaria steady as was the case in 2009, but to go up one logical step by reducing the incidence of the disease to under 10,000. However, by the end of March, Malaria cases were close to 3,000 and counting.
Minister Ramsammy blamed the situation on mining camps that have sprung up in Regions 1, 7, 8 and 9 and the circulation of antimalarials that do not meet the country’s Malaria guidelines.
Region 10 is not as badly affected yet. To keep it that way, the Minister has instructed a team from the Malaria Department to go into the region to assess the needs of the communities there.
With regards to the mining camps, Ramsammy lamented that less than half of the camps use bed nets. And that is in spite of all the nets, 80,000 in all, that were distributed to the hinterland where Malaria happens to be endemic.
Another round of net distribution will be done this year, Ramsammy revealed. He hopes that with the expansion of services and an increase in resources to communities under the Malaria gun, that every citizen living and working in the hinterland of Guyana will “take every precaution possible to prevent the spread of Malaria.”