Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence has lauded the successes made thus far in ensuring that Guyanese of all ages are covered under the country’s immunization programme, but not without mentioning the challenges the country also faces.
Minister Lawrence was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the Maternal Child Health (MCH)- Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) Quarterly Review Meeting being held at the Pegasus today (Monday).
The forum will focus on issues relating to maternal and child mortality, as well as immunization.
In recognition of the benefits of immunization, there has been need to extend immunization coverage worldwide, especially in low income countries which has the highest maternal mortality rates.
Minister Lawrence noted that Guyana has registered great success with support from various stakeholders but there will always be a need for improvement and further expansion.
She observed that with the constant bordering traffic and increasing outbreak of diseases such as measles and yellow fever, there is urgent need for more active monitoring and surveillance of what is happening.
“I wish to state that the potential and sustainability of our country are strongly linked to a healthy nation. I want to reiterate that monitoring and appropriate management of our health systems are intrinsic to us making substantial progress”.
She added: “No sustainable achievement can be made without standards, measurable goals and best practices; let us therefore map it; an effective progamme for the Maternal and Child Health Department and the Expanded Immunisation Initiative. Let us maintain and surpass the gains in the areas of Immunisation.”
Guyana’s EPI Programme was initiated in the late 1970s with vaccination against 6 diseases namely, measles, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, diphtheria and tuberculosis.
The last case of yellow fever was in 1968 and the last case of polio was in 1962.
PAHO has said that Guyana’s success with its Immunization Programme was achieved through the strategies used to combat preventable diseases in children and through the hard work of its health care workers.