Study of flood impact on respiratory illnesses for upcoming research summit

Over 10 research papers from Guyanese health professionals, including an examination of the effects of the recent flood on respiratory illnesses, are to be presented at the annual Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC), which is to be held here this month.

Dr. Donald Simon, Director of the CHRC, said Tuesday at a press briefing that the Guyanese papers to be presented range from studies on diabetes, glaucoma, motor vehicle accidents, and psychiatry to HIV/AIDS.

Research topics to be covered at the conference include HIV/AIDS, nutrition, family health, chronic diseases and clinical medicine. According to Dr. Simon, papers from some fourteen Caribbean countries are to be presented.

The CHRC conference will be held from April 14 to April 16, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and on Tuesday Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy underscored the importance of research in the region, saying that it informs policies which are evidence-based.

Ramsammy said that developing countries depended on research from the developed world in the past. He observed that they will continue to use information derived from those countries, but that the region is more cognisant of its role in contributing to the pool of knowledge which informs policies. He said too that many young doctors in Guyana have now accepted that research is a critical component as part of their profession.

Simon, commenting on whether new areas have emerged in the region which researchers should be exploring, said that CHRC has just completed a list of research agenda for the Caribbean. He there is a list of about “a thousand topics” and noted that Health Ministers in the region would be called upon to endorse the list later this year.

Some of the areas of research on the list include chronic diseases, HIV/AIDS, strengthening health systems, environmental health and hypertension. “There are a lot of under-researched areas,” he added.

The annual research conference comprises researchers, policy-makers and care providers, who create a network of stakeholders.

Simon expressed hope that the conference would encourage young health professionals in Guyana to conduct research following the session here.

Among some of the highlights of the conference is an awards banquet where Jamaican Professor Peter Figueroa would be honoured for his outstanding work in the area of HIV/AIDS. In addition, Guyanese Professor Nigel Harris would also be honoured for his contributions.

Meanwhile, the regional Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) meeting would be held in Guyana between April 11 and April 12, followed by a Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) meeting on April 15 and April 16. Dr. Rudolph Cummings, of the CARICOM Secretariat, spoke on the COHSOD meeting.

He told reporters that the outcome of CMO meeting will inform the agenda of the COHSOD sessions, but he observed that some specific issues are on the agenda.

Cummings said that the COHSOD meeting will also take a serious look at what is happening with chronic diseases in the region, while adding that the discussions will also include the role the Caribbean will play at the upcoming UN General Assembly’s high level meeting in September.

He said too that there would be some discussions on a regional policy on pharmaceuticals, “which is needed.” He noted that the policy will focus on issues of training, but generally on protecting the population with proper treatment protocols.

Further, he mentioned that they will also examine a study done in the region to look at a regional health insurance mechanism. This, he said, is being driven largely by the Single Market and Economy.

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