Health officials battling gastro outbreak in Guyana

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday, June 3, 2016 – Health authorities are moving to contain an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the community of Baramita, Region One.

Director of Regional Health Services (RHS) Dr Kay Shako said an integrated action plan has been developed with the help of residents of Baramita, Regional Authorities and the Ministry of Public Health.

Some 21 male and 25 female cases were reported between May 11 and 30. Fourteen of them were under the age of five.

“The situation remains a major concern for the region and continues to be kept under close watch,” Dr Shako said.

There has been an increase in public education on hygiene, sanitation including hand washing, sealed pit latrine, adequate garbage disposal, safe drinkable water, frequent water sample testing, adequate source of water supply along with the use of collapsible water bags.

He explained that along with the plan, regular monitoring and evaluation will be done by local health care providers as well as officials of the ministry to ensure that the community is complying with the health care plan.

“The outbreak of gastroenteritis in the community of Baramita in December 2015 attracted much public attention with mixed views. However, according to information divulged by the residents, Baramita was always plagued with gastroenteritis, but the condition escalated,” the Director of Regional Health Services said.

Noting that traditional health practices and behaviours also contribute to the situation, Dr Shako added that the community is also grappling with social determinants of health which seem to be widespread across all racial divide and a shortage of water.

“More attention from the region and health care authorities, government and non-governmental organisations as well as faith-based organisations needs to be directed to Baramita in the future, if a positive change is anticipated,” he suggested.

The director said he had received no reports of cases of gastroenteritis in the city or at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

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