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The Ministry of Health on Monday signed an Agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FOA) and World Bank to facilitate the updating of the Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) assessment through ‘one health’ assessments. The FAO and the World Bank have worked together to craft a modern, contemporary PVS which Guyana will benefit from.
Advisor to the Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, stated that Guyana last updated its PVS in 2008.
Some US$1 million in grant funding will be made available to Guyana to update the country’s assessments.
The ‘one health’ programme is a global initiative meant to achieve optimal health outcomes through the recognition of the interconnectivity between people, animals, and plants. The agreement will therefore aid Guyana’s participation, through proper management, to promote the highest international food standard through the integration and advancement of the local food chain.
FAO representative to Guyana, Dr. Gillian Smith, said the ‘one health’ process is important to the future of the country and its food systems, as she pointed out the organisation is also looking forward to the integration of this work with the rest of the ‘one health’ assessments and the integrated management process.
Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, admitted an integrated and cohesive approach is necessary to facilitate optimal health outcomes. According to him, the ‘one health’ agenda has been around for some time, but it has taken a while for countries to first do the assessment and then transition to subsistence. “With this assessment, we’ll have a clearer idea of some of the things we will need going forward over the next few years, and our objective is to help to implement this.”
The minister also noted that the assessments will help to prepare for any future pandemics.
Surveillance systems, the health advisor said, are being extended to include non-clinical components, especially zoonotic diseases, as these are one of the basic issues included in the ‘one health’ concept. He also pointed out the recent COVID-19 pandemic resulted from the zoonotic disease and some of the neglected tropical diseases that Guyana is now set to eliminate have a zoonotic origin. To this end, he stated, the zoonotic lab and the zoonotic surveillance system are critical, and a public health veterinary service assessment, evaluation, and strengthening are critical to this component.