The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has expressed dissatisfaction with the public information posture of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in addressing the existence of the Zika Virus in Guyana.
The Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee during a press conference on Monday, January 18 said, “concerns have been raised about the health sector’s capacity to cope with the detection and potential spread of the virus throughout the national territory.”
He also pointed out that there are no testing facilities in Guyana for persons suspected to have contracted the virus, noting that Guyana had to send blood samples overseas for testing and only received the results eight days after, which confirmed the country’s first case of the virus.
As such, the PPP is of the belief that the government knew all along that there was a potential threat and did nothing to protect citizens from contracting the virus.
“It is to be noted that long before the detected case in Guyana in January, it was known by the Granger administration that the virus was present in the national territories of all of Guyana’s neighbouring countries with 3,500 suspected cases in Brazil alone, thousands in Suriname and large numbers in Venezuela,” said Rohee, while claiming that the development should have alerted the Government of Guyana to fear for the worst in the event of the penetration and spread of the virus in Guyana.
Further, while pregnant women are the greatest at risk persons, “no public information whatsoever is available as to whether special detection and preventative measures are in place at both private and public ante-natal clinics in Guyana to cater especially for mothers to be,” asserted Rohee, as he explained that the measures in place are woefully inadequate.
He criticised the fogging exercises, noting that it is sparse and inconsistent, pointing out that no geo-scientific methodology is being applied to conducting these exercises.
In addition, information about quarantine measures and facilities, he stressed, is lacking.
“The government should immediately request a team of PAHO/WHO experts to visit Guyana soonest to assess the current state of affairs with respect to the existence of the Zika virus in our national territory and the potential for its spread countrywide,” Rohee told the news conference.