Plaisance/Sparendaam Community Centre Ground
Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture
April 22, 2016
Project Partners of the ACP/EU funded project ‘One Health, One Caribbean, One Love’
Mr. Jesus Orus Baguena, Minister Counselor, Head of Cooperation Delegation of the EU to Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands
Mr. Wilmot Garnett, Representative, IICA
Dr. William Adu-Krow, Representative, PAHO/WHO
Mr. Ruben Robertson, Representative, FAO
“Managing Health Together” Project Team
Ladies and Gentlemen of Plaisance and surrounding communities
Thank you for joining us this morning on this important occasion which marks a new chapter in our work of One Health in local communities. I have been looking forward to the launch of this project and I have no doubt in my mind that you are all as excited about this new development as I am.
Our belief as a government is that a community that can stand up and do things for itself will always be better off than the one that is largely dependent on government and other institutions for development.
Last December I spoke at the Environment and Health Module of the One Health Leadership Series in Georgetown. There I addressed two things, firstly, the environmental factors such as poor water quality and availability, sanitation; vector-borne diseases; toxic substances that causes diseases and secondly, the lack of information sharing and systemic approaches to adequately deal with these risks. After reading through the project document, I am happy that the Guyana Team chose Sanitation and Health and I am proud that the project “Managing Health Together” addresses both of these issues. As you already know, from the previous speakers, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop a model for multi sectoral collaboration in One Health and for proper solid waste management practices as a community.
Admittedly, as a country we have a long way to go before proper waste disposal methods and recycling are in full effect. The difference can be seen when comparing ourselves with countries like the US, Canada and much of Europe. We have yet to embrace waste management to that degree. With this project, many areas that were once laden with rubbish and trash will be cleaned. While as a country we still have issues with waste management, the progress that this community makes will serve as an example of what can be done with the proper focus.
This project allows us to bridge the gap between theory to practice – with the opportunity to develop a pilot that can be scaled up and expand beyond this one community. I believe in the approach that the project takes, that is, ensure proper protocols, address behavioral change and implement a methodology to monitor that change. All this with the involvement of nursery, primary and secondary schools, youth groups and households, health workers and policy makers in the community.
As a whole, the programme aims to strengthen the environment by implementing Open Garbage Disposal Free Zones. Now many of you may be thinking what this is. This basically means there should be no garbage on the street corners or in the alley ways, etc……..
I strongly believe that the pursuit of the goals require the active participation of the beneficiaries. We are grateful that the Plaisance community has partnered with us as we work together to ensure proper sanitation and health in this community. I urge you to take up the mantle and continue with this plan even after the project period has ended.
This approach operates within the framework of waste management- a process which facilitates the strengthening of strategies to tackle vulnerabilities and build adaptive capacities to manage and improve your immediate environment. I will confess, it will not solve all our problems, but it does build up confidence to tackle such problems more holistically and effectively.
In order to speed up the implementation of Government’s agenda, we must build on the progress made in Plaisance and make further advances in similar communities to transform our country into a just and prosperous society. We are confident that this process will further help extend the frontiers of sanitation and health issues if government and communities are to work together in partnership.
As we launch this project here today, we do so with the hope that it will bring us much closer to the attainment of the institutionalized mechanism for the multi-sectoral collaboration and the implementation of the Protocol for Reporting Diseases. In addition to the successful pilot and operating system for the Open Garbage Disposal Free Zone.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Team Members of the project, Dr. Parris-Aaron and Dr. Overton and their leader Dr. Dane Hartley, who offered their time and expertise in developing this project. I also appreciate the presence of all other partners and the local community who found the time to be with us to address these issues which are of great concern to us as a nation. Let us treat this as the beginning of a new chapter which we shall all be proud of.
It is my firm belief that working together we can do more to restore the sanitation and health of our people by putting them at the forefront of our development initiatives.
On that note I would like to congratulate you all for participating in the project “Managing Health Together”
22 April 2016