First Lady of Guyana Sandra Granger, in her capacity as deputy co-chair of the Spouses of CARICOM Ladies Action Network, told Caribbean Life during an exclusive interview, after a Prayer Breakfast meeting at the Yale Club in NYC, that the Guyana government is vigilant in safeguarding its population against the spread of Tuberculosis (TB).
Hosted on Sept. 27, by UNAIDS, PEPFAR, and the World Council of Church Prayer, as part of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, under the theme “Moving from Community to Action,” Granger was part of a roundtable discussion that raised an alarm about the 10 million deaths around the world from TB, the top infectious killer.
Granger, who last year, received the Global Female Leadership Impact Award, from the Center for Economic and Leadership Development (CELD) for her sustainable development initiatives in her country after listening to testimonies from persons who contracted TB, opined that in spite of vaccination, there are many strains of the disease, and in many cases, TB accompanies the AIDS virus.
She said, everyone, including communities, private sectors, governments, and NGOs, must come together and use all avenues available to publicize the prevalence of TB, and sensitize people about the impact of TB that affects million of people per year.
“The AIDS rate has gone down in Guyana and the Caribbean, but we are seeing an increase in prevalence among our general population, but the highest incidents in AIDS related death occurs in Haiti.”
She noted however that risky behavior among young people in particular has hit a 30 percent increase, which sounds an alarm bell for Guyana. “If we ‘do not nip it in the bud, we will be faced with a crisis, something we work valiantly to avoid,” said Mrs. Granger.
She noted too, that several countries have already been certified as states that are preventing mother to child transmission, and Guyana’s policy has been to set up adolescent health clinics where young people can access information and services of contraception, and where teen mothers are discouraged from repeat pregnancies, “so there is a lot of action on the government’s part, but we also need to get the other sectors of society involved in the fight against HIV / AIDS and TB, since we are seeing congenital Syphilis that is associated with HIV, she noted.
These, and other pressing social issues will be on the First Lady’s agenda when she visits the remote Rupununi region to conduct Self Reliance and Success in Business workshops for women, simultaneously with workshops in robotics for young people, whom the First Lady says have to be ready for the workplace in the 21st century. “STEM is the way to go, she added.