Chargé d’affaires a.i. Mark Cullinane’s Remarks
Handover Event of Maternal & Child Health Equipment & Materials
USAID Zika Project
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Collette Adams, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health –
Dr Karen Gordon Boyle, Deputy Chief Medical Officer –
Dr Oneka Scott, Director Maternal and Child Health –
Health Practitioners from all over Guyana –
Ladies and gentlemen –
A very good morning.
It is my pleasure to be here for today’s handover of maternal and child health equipment and materials to the Ministry of Public Health, Guyana. The handover of these items today is a manifestation of the important health partnership between our two governments that supported clinical and non-clinical Zika services benefiting infants, children, and families of Guyana.
The US Government’s support to Guyana’s health programs goes back decades and spans a wide range of areas including HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Dengue, supply chain management and health systems strengthening. Today, we are here to focus on our Zika prevention work which started in September 2016 with funding provided to the Guyana Red Cross to engage communities in the prevention of Zika transmission in their neighborhoods.
In March 2018, we began more work with the Maternal and Child Survival Program in close partnership with the Ministry of Public Health to improve the clinical capacity of service providers to care for new-borns and small babies.
Some of the notable successes of this partnership includes improved ability of 104 health workers to treat children with Zika and provide psychosocial support to mothers and families affected by Zika.
The re-vitalization of a support group for caregivers of children with development delays, such as those affected by Zika, and the integration of therapeutic early stimulation into the public health nursing curriculum at the University of Guyana are among the project’s many successes.
Guyanese healthcare workers now also have increased access to clinical literature and job aids to improve the quality of care and support available to affected infants and families.
While this work focused specifically on Zika, I would like to underscore that the investments made are far reaching and will help strengthen the public health response to diseases and improve the scope and quality of support services available to any child with development delays regardless of the cause.
The tools, procedures, and systems developed during and after the recent Zika outbreak can, and should, be used to ensure a strong and effective response to any future outbreak and to minimize the detrimental health and development impact of Zika on future generations.
The handover of these materials and equipment today at an estimated value of 21,000 USD will complement the tools, systems and procedures developed during the active phase of the Zika project in Guyana and contribute to improving the ongoing work at health facilities across the country.
On behalf of the American people, I would like to thank the Ministry of Public Health for a successful public health partnership with us and wish you all the best in using these tools to improve the health of Guyana’s citizens, well into the future.