Guyana: Our Impact

{Photo credit: PFSCM.}Photo credit: PFSCM.

Since 2006, the Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) has been working with Guyana’s Ministry of Health to strengthen the supply chain responsible for delivering life-saving medicines. An integral part of Guyana’s Ministry of Health, the Materials Management Unit (MMU), is responsible for managing, storing, and distributing drugs and health commodities to the country’s public health facilities.

GHARP II and NAPS staff at the award ceremony. (Photo credit: L. Baird, NAPS)The Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Project, phase II (GHARP II), a PEPFAR-funded and USAID-supported project, received four awards for the invaluable support it has provided Guyana’s Ministry of Health and National HIV/AIDS Program (MOH) at a ceremony on December 7, 2012. The National AIDS Program Secretariat (NAPS) recognizes the contributions of its partners in the fight against HIV & AIDS annually.

Participants in the Business Planning for Health Program in Guyana meet during the closing workshop’s “marketplace” event to pitch their business ideas to potential funders. (Photo credit: MSH)Many health-related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) around the world face resource challenges, including difficulty attracting new funding and a lack of capacity to plan, program, and account for increases in resources.

A shop owner displaying the brands of condoms she now stocks in her store, thanks to GHARP’s success in improving Guyana’s condom supply chain. {Photo credit: Ohio Thompson/MSH.}Photo credit: Ohio Thompson/MSH.

“If the shops where I live were selling condoms, I would not have gotten HIV. I went out to look for condoms but couldn’t get any to buy, so I took a chance,” said an HIV-positive beneficiary of USAID’s Guyana HIV/AIDS Reduction and Prevention Program, phase II (GHARP II).This man’s experience is common in Guyana, where many communities do not have pharmacies, supermarkets, or gas stations—places where condoms are traditionally sold.

Commercial sex worker peer educator at one of the mining camps in Mahdia, Region 8, Guyana. {Photo credit: Sheron Fraser/GHARP II.}Photo credit: Sheron Fraser/GHARP II.

Sex workers in Guyana are a socially excluded and marginalized group. Guyana’s 2004 behavioral and biological surveillance survey (BBSS) found that HIV prevalence among female sex workers was 26.6%; only a small proportion of this group had been reached with programs aimed at making them less vulnerable to HIV, and, if HIV positive, less likely to transmit the virus to others.

The LDP Core Group is comprised of graduates who have demonstrated a good understanding of leadership processes and concepts and have subsequently been trained to deliver the LDP and support program trainees. There is also an LDP Network which fosters communication, collaboration and support among graduates. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

We aren’t creating leaders; we are uncovering people’s leadership capabilities and providing a path for them to put their capabilities into practice. (Joseph Dwyer, director of the Leadership, Management and Sustainability Program at Management Sciences for Health)Designed by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the Leadership Development Program (LDP) strengthens organizations by developing the leadership and management capacity of staff members at all levels.

USAID's regional program, the Amazon Malaria Initiative (AMI), was established to address malaria control in countries that form the Amazon Basin. Initial members included Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname. AMI and its partner organizations helped the countries introduce artemisinin-based combination therapies around 2006 to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which causes the most severe malaria cases.

Because AIDS is a political, socioeconomic, and human rights issue as well as a health problem, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has been helping the Government of Guyana bring the resources of all its sectors to bear on the epidemic. By incorporating AIDS activities into all Guyana’s governmental ministries—by beginning with eight—resources are being mobilized and many different kinds of leaders are working together to fight HIV & AIDS.

Improvements in health are seen in statistics and reports, but their most profound effect is within people. It became apparent where the wealth of a nation truly lives when Dr. Leslie Ramsammy was approached by a father who wanted to thank him for saving his child’s life from malaria. “Health is wealth,” said Dr. Ramsammy, the Minister of Health of Guyana, during a visit to MSH headquarters in Cambridge, MA. “It is the foundation for all other aspects of society—the economy, the history, the culture.