The Ministry of Health presented a quantity of items to the Georgetown Prison in an effort to strengthen ties with the Guyana Prison Service (GPS). These items include 50 mattresses, 50 bed sheets, 25 cabinets and 100 sacks of cement.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release, the presentation was made by National TB Programme Manager, Dr Jeetendra Mohanlall to the Director of Prisons Dale Erskine at the Prison Officers’ Club, Camp Street.
The release said Mohanlal noted that the Health Ministry’s TB Unit has been engaging the GPS in its programme as a means of controlling TB infections. He explained that screening and surveillance activities are frequently carried out at the prisons to ensure existing TB cases are contained, while preventing its spread among the inmates, and that the ministry also furbishes isolation units for inmates with TB and other respiratory ailments.
Expressing gratitude, Erskine emphasized that for a number of years the need for the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course Strategy (DOTS) programme in the prison service has been recognized since TB is contagious. In addition he said that a lot of work has been ongoing within the prisons since 2002, regarding the control of TB.
According to the release government and the Ministry of Health, along with the Global Fund have, since 2005 been enhancing the fight against TB and this subsequently led to the expansion in 2007 of the National TB Programme Unit, as well as the expansion of the DOTS programme into all the regions, allowing citizens free access to TB services closer to home.
The release highlighted that in 2010 the ministry signed an agreement with the Global Fund for approximately US$3 million towards the enhancement of the fight against TB in Guyana, with focus on increasing diagnostic capacity and the introduction of drug sensitivity testing at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.
The donation was one of a number of activities planned by the ministry to mark World TB Day, today. Other activities include the launch of the DOTS programme in Region 8, commissioning of the new National TB Unit and x-ray unit, fairs and exhibitions.