With support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a new public health laboratory opened in Guyana on July 3, 2008. The National Public Health Institute is expected to become a national and regional center of excellence for lab standards and research in Guyana.
The Institute's new equipment gives in-country health professionals the ability to test for resistant strains of TB and HIV that were previously elusive in other labs. Not only will this new facility allow the country to detect these once-obscure viruses, but it will accelerate the pace at which HIV/AIDS is identified.
"When an infant is born, it can now be tested for the virus within weeks, not years, thereby allowing an earlier diagnosis, and the promise of life-saving therapy," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director in Guyana.
The lab is a continuation of the significant progress Guyana has made within its health care system. In 1990, the country was spending a mere US$6 per capita on health care. Today, the government provides an average of US$78 per capita on health services.
"For any country and more so a poor country...this is an achievement that is commendable," said Guyana's Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
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