In an effort to attain 100 per cent yellow fever vaccination coverage in Guyana for 2018, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Shamdeo Persuad proposed a joint effort between the government and Brazil, similar to the initiative between Guyana and Suriname.
According to a release from the DPI, this was disclosed by Dr Persaud, on Friday, during a visit by Brazil’s Minister of Health Dr Ricardo Jose Managaines Barros and his team, to Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence.
According to Dr Persaud, Guyana was able to achieve 98 per cent vaccination coverage for 2017, one of the highest reports for yellow fever. He emphasised the need to strengthen the relationship between the countries in order to ensure that the quality and standards are maintained.
“… An important issue for us, is the movement of people regardless if it is Venezuela, Guyana or some other (part) of our border sharing countries. I think these concerns are great for health because people do not only move with their money, they move with their illnesses, their infection, animals and even their food so we have to look at that”, the CMO explained.
According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) website, the yellow fever vaccine, once administered, is valid for life. However, these vaccines will be mandatory only for travellers moving between Guyana and neighbouring Brazil, and for children that are less than one year old. However, it was advised the general public should also be immunised.
It was highlighted that both countries have directed their efforts in strengthening and promoting immunization. The PAHO/WHO had published a list of countries, including Guyana, which requires visitors to show proof of immunisation before entry is granted.
Additionally, Dr Persuad addressed the issue of building Guyana’s capacity to provide serum for snake venom. He mentioned the difficulties faced when treating patients suffering from snake bites by common predators such as the Bushmaster, Rattlesnake and Labaria.
The serum for these three is produced in Brazil. The CMO said the government would like to see more development on the sharing of information regarding the manufacture of serum.