Categorized | Health, Local, News, Regional

Jamaica reeling under Chikungunya virus

sfdfsKINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 29, CMC – The Jamaica government has acknowledged that the outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus is taking a toll on the country’s education system with reports of a significant increase in student and teacher absenteeism.

While unable to give exact figures, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, said schools in the Corporate Area and eastern parishes were the most affected.

“There have been significant absences from schools. We encourage schools to give as much information to students on how they should react to symptoms. And that schools should join in national cleanup efforts to ensure that breeding spaces for mosquitoes are all curtailed,” Thwaites said.

He said individual schools will have to put measures in place to prevent any major fallout in the administering of classes due to the outbreak.

Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson in a nationwide radio and television address on Sunday night called for a national response to efforts to tackle the outbreak the virus spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito and with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk. .

He said whole scale support is needed as the authorities fine-tune strategies to destroy mosquito breeding sites.

“I urge you to take at least 10 minutes each week and look around your home , workplace, to ensure that there is no uncovered containers that can breed mosquitoes. I implore every citizen to join us when we declare a national cleanup day.

The health minister also expressed concern about the impact the disease is having on productivity.

“We ask employers to be compassionate and assist their staff through this difficult period. We expect that the health workforce will also be impacted and so we are putting in place an emergency response plan to ensure that we can continue to provide care to the population.

Ferguson added that Chikungunya cases are expected to spike .

“It is important to note that the expectation is for chikungunya cases to spike and then trend down as persons begin to build immunity to this new disease.”

He said the spread of the virus was expected and that it was “normal” for new diseases.

This was the Health Minister’s first address to the nation since the virus hit Jamaica. The address was comes amid criticism of the Government’s handling of the outbreak.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) spokesman on Health, Dr Kenneth Baugh, said he welcomes the admission by the government that there is a Chikungunya epidemic.

But Dr Baugh noted that while the Minister has finally confronted the seriousness of the issue, he did not address several things.

“It was unfortunate that his presentation ignored the fact that a lot of pharmacies are out of stock of the basic medications needed to address symptoms.  He needs to make urgent provisions for this.  Related to this point is the fact that the Minister also did not address the matter of budgetary provisions,” Dr. Baugh said urging the Dr. Ferguson to promptly announce details regarding the emergency command centre, including the location, telephone number and the skill sets that will be mobilized there.

The Trinidadian-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has said the Chikunguyna virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean and that many more cases will be recorded in the coming months.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 30, CMC – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, says the outbreak of Chikungunya has led to the postponement of court cases due to absence of several jurors with symptoms of the disease.

She said this has also resulted in calls from judges for increased fogging of court buildings.

“What we have sought to have certain areas of the office sprayed and in the morning, close the office and in the morning hopefully we are able to prevent having any mosquitoes around,” she said, noting also that staff members have also been affected by the mosquito borne virus.

Chikunguyna is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito and with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk.  .”

“In terms of my staff, I’m aware of three lawyers who have come down with it and we have had to do some rearranging of our roster – it’s a question now of taking the necessary precautions,” Llewellyn said.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has issued a preliminary response to the call for the two main political parties to mobilise their ground machinery in the fight against the virus.

JLP spokesman, Dr. Horace hang said the matter will be discussed at the party level before a public statement is made.

The idea of the political parties participating in an initiative to tackle the spread of the disease was presented by President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA), Dr. Alfred Dawes .

The ruling People’s National Party (PNP), says it has already responded on the ground to the Chikungunya virus as  Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson ,urged party members to lead the charge to take preventative measures.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping says it continues to be at the forefront of efforts to deal with the virus and that CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque held discussions on the weekend in New York with representatives of the governments of Brazil and Argentina on assistance for the region.

“The discussions with the Brazil’s Vice-Minister for Health Mr. Jarbas Barbosa have led to an invitation for a team from the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to visit Brazil to further discuss specific areas of support against Chikungunya in the first instance.  Argentina will visit the region shortly as it builds on ongoing support for the health sector,” A CARICOm Secretariat statement noted.

It said the discussions with the Brazilians as well as with the Director of PAHO and the Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) also centred on CARICOM member states complying with  International Health Regulations, which help prepare countries for dealing with health crises such as the Ebola threat. It was agreed that capacity-building assistance was required across Member States.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

sfdfsKINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 29, CMC – The Jamaica government has acknowledged that the outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus is taking a toll on the country’s education system with reports of a significant increase in student and teacher absenteeism.

While unable to give exact figures, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, said schools in the Corporate Area and eastern parishes were the most affected.

“There have been significant absences from schools. We encourage schools to give as much information to students on how they should react to symptoms. And that schools should join in national cleanup efforts to ensure that breeding spaces for mosquitoes are all curtailed,” Thwaites said.

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He said individual schools will have to put measures in place to prevent any major fallout in the administering of classes due to the outbreak.

Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson in a nationwide radio and television address on Sunday night called for a national response to efforts to tackle the outbreak the virus spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito and with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk. .

He said whole scale support is needed as the authorities fine-tune strategies to destroy mosquito breeding sites.

“I urge you to take at least 10 minutes each week and look around your home , workplace, to ensure that there is no uncovered containers that can breed mosquitoes. I implore every citizen to join us when we declare a national cleanup day.

The health minister also expressed concern about the impact the disease is having on productivity.

“We ask employers to be compassionate and assist their staff through this difficult period. We expect that the health workforce will also be impacted and so we are putting in place an emergency response plan to ensure that we can continue to provide care to the population.

Ferguson added that Chikungunya cases are expected to spike .

“It is important to note that the expectation is for chikungunya cases to spike and then trend down as persons begin to build immunity to this new disease.”

He said the spread of the virus was expected and that it was “normal” for new diseases.

This was the Health Minister’s first address to the nation since the virus hit Jamaica. The address was comes amid criticism of the Government’s handling of the outbreak.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) spokesman on Health, Dr Kenneth Baugh, said he welcomes the admission by the government that there is a Chikungunya epidemic.

But Dr Baugh noted that while the Minister has finally confronted the seriousness of the issue, he did not address several things.

“It was unfortunate that his presentation ignored the fact that a lot of pharmacies are out of stock of the basic medications needed to address symptoms.  He needs to make urgent provisions for this.  Related to this point is the fact that the Minister also did not address the matter of budgetary provisions,” Dr. Baugh said urging the Dr. Ferguson to promptly announce details regarding the emergency command centre, including the location, telephone number and the skill sets that will be mobilized there.

The Trinidadian-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has said the Chikunguyna virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean and that many more cases will be recorded in the coming months.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept 30, CMC – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, says the outbreak of Chikungunya has led to the postponement of court cases due to absence of several jurors with symptoms of the disease.

She said this has also resulted in calls from judges for increased fogging of court buildings.

“What we have sought to have certain areas of the office sprayed and in the morning, close the office and in the morning hopefully we are able to prevent having any mosquitoes around,” she said, noting also that staff members have also been affected by the mosquito borne virus.

Chikunguyna is spread by the aedes aegypti mosquito and with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk.  .”

“In terms of my staff, I’m aware of three lawyers who have come down with it and we have had to do some rearranging of our roster – it’s a question now of taking the necessary precautions,” Llewellyn said.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has issued a preliminary response to the call for the two main political parties to mobilise their ground machinery in the fight against the virus.

JLP spokesman, Dr. Horace hang said the matter will be discussed at the party level before a public statement is made.

The idea of the political parties participating in an initiative to tackle the spread of the disease was presented by President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association (JMDA), Dr. Alfred Dawes .

The ruling People’s National Party (PNP), says it has already responded on the ground to the Chikungunya virus as  Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson ,urged party members to lead the charge to take preventative measures.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping says it continues to be at the forefront of efforts to deal with the virus and that CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque held discussions on the weekend in New York with representatives of the governments of Brazil and Argentina on assistance for the region.

“The discussions with the Brazil’s Vice-Minister for Health Mr. Jarbas Barbosa have led to an invitation for a team from the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to visit Brazil to further discuss specific areas of support against Chikungunya in the first instance.  Argentina will visit the region shortly as it builds on ongoing support for the health sector,” A CARICOm Secretariat statement noted.

It said the discussions with the Brazilians as well as with the Director of PAHO and the Deputy Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) also centred on CARICOM member states complying with  International Health Regulations, which help prepare countries for dealing with health crises such as the Ebola threat. It was agreed that capacity-building assistance was required across Member States.