The Suicide Prevention Taskforce of the Ministry of Public Health met this morning to work on a comprehensive plan to develop specific interventions to stop the growing public health concern – suicide. This meeting is the first follow-up session held with all the relevant stakeholders on January 17, 2016 at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.
Minister in the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings who chaired the meeting, called on all stakeholders to join the Ministry of Public Health and its partners to address the issue of suicide in Guyana. Addressing stakeholders in the Resource Room of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Cummings explained that, “this is not another talk shop as the issue of suicide is an important public health concern.”
Meanwhile, offering brief remarks prior to the commencement of the working session, Country Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Dr. William Adu Krow explained that he was happy that the Ministry of Public Health intervened to address the issue.
“We definitely have to do something about this issue, and I am glad now that we are doing something about it,” Dr. Adu Krow stated.
PAHO/WHO committed to providing the necessary assistance required by the Ministry of Public Health in the relevant interventions. The organisation has already put together a draft plan of action to address the issue, and Dr. Adu Krow committed to sharing it with the Ministry of Public Health.
“At PAHO we thought about this issue and we have something that can be shared with the Ministry, and the Ministry can use that as a template and build,” he advised.
Meanwhile, coming out of the initial stakeholders meeting, a number of strategic actions were taken which include the creation of a multi-sectoral taskforce to address the issue of suicide. The taskforce comprise representatives of government ministries and agencies, along with civil society and faith-based organisations.
Among its roles, is to provide guidance in areas relating to data collection, data quality analysis and dissemination.
The National Suicide Prevention Plan 2015-2020 will provide guidance for all sectors in efforts to effect positive change and is integrated with the National Mental Health Action Plan 2015-2020.