Public Health Strengthening in Guyana

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CSIH Wins Major Development Award for Project in Guyana
Oct 31, 2006

(Click here for official press release in PDF format).

CSIH Consultants and Project Manager Roumyana Benedict (far left) celebrate with Executive Director Jan Hatcher Roberts (centre) and Guyanese High Commissioner Rajnarine Singh (3rd from right)

"The success and sustainability of this Project is in large part due to the partners we work with and the team that implements the Project, both here in Canada and in Guyana," said Janet Hatcher Roberts in Ottawa earlier this week, as she accepted a major award for the public health project that her organization, the Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH), is implementing in Guyana.

The project "Public Health Strengthening in Guyana", managed by Project Director Roumyana Benedict, is in its last year of a 4 year mandate, striving to buttress the Guyanese public health system by promoting an integrated approach to the management of Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and by developing an electronic health information system to best capture and analyse data in support of policy making for the better health of the people of Guyana.

One of the strongest aspects of the project is its fostering of local capacity by working with a diversity of partners: technical professionals from the Ministry of Heath and from Regions 4,6,10 and 3; community and health workers; the University of Guyana and MOH educational institutions; prison authorities and local NGOs. The project represents a partnership between the governments of Guyana and Canada, specifically between the Guyanese Ministry of Health and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which has provided $4.6 million (Canadian) in funding, with CSIH supplementing this number with close to another million in “in-kind” contributions.

Ms. Hatcher Roberts accepted the award from the President of CIDA. Called, “the Canadian Award for International Cooperation”, it is sponsored by CIDA and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association and funded by the Canadian Hunger Foundation. The award was accepted on behalf of all the CSIH staff, volunteers and consultants who are based in both Guyana and Canada. Hatcher Roberts noted that, "the continued development support from our colleagues, partners, civil society and our government will be a critical element to our sustainable efforts in the future." The award is given to Canadian companies and organizations for achievements in supporting sustainable economic growth and social programs to reduce poverty in the developing countries all over the world. It was interesting to note that the finalists included four projects situated in Guyana.

Guyana's High Commissioner to Canada, Mr. Rajnarine Singh, commented that he felt "extremely proud in knowing that four projects being undertaken in Guyana were nominated for awards. It should demonstrate to the Canadian government that Canadian tax-payers' money is being put to good use and well accounted for. It would prove also that Guyana has the capacity to utilize in an effective manner whatever aid is offered to the country."

The CSIH project has focused on several public health fronts simultaneously: developing diagnosis and treatment guidelines for HIV/AIDS, TB and STIs; modernizing labs; improving Guyana's educational capacity to produce technical workers better prepared to contribute in the modern labs and hospitals; training caregivers to provide community-based care; conducting scientific studies on the prevalence of selected diseases; funding the staffing of new positions; funding educational opportunities for key personnel; and building an exciting new computerized health information system in selected hospitals and clinics.

This award bodes well for future development initiatives spearheaded jointly by Canada and Guyana, as it proves that the two nations can effectively coordinate development activities in partnership.

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Other photos from the event:

Guyanese High Commissioner Rajnarine Singh, Dr Karam Ramotar, Ms Roumyana Benedict and Dr Raywat Deonandan.

Project Director Roumyana Benedict and CSIH Executive Director Janet Hatcher Roberts.

CSIH Executive Director Janet Hatcher Roberts with CIDA Project Manager Reid Levenson.