JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government has been proactive in ensuring that acceptable hygiene exists at schools to prevent any form of health risks, and that officials have been visiting educational institutions to tackle the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).
  • During the first week of September, personnel from the Ministry and the Ministry of Health circulated information about maintaining a healthy environment, and ensuring safe water usage in light of the drought condition.
  • The Minister said he is pleased with all the steps taken before the outbreak of the HFMD, and the ongoing efforts to contain it.

The Government has been proactive in ensuring that acceptable hygiene exists at schools to prevent any form of health risks, and that officials have been visiting educational institutions to tackle the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD).

This was emphasised by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who noted that during the first week of September, personnel from the Ministry and the Ministry of Health circulated information about maintaining a healthy environment, and ensuring safe water usage in light of the drought condition.

“The Ministry of Education is satisfied that school and Ministry officials in the field are equipped with the knowledge to respond appropriately to the challenges presented by this health issue,” Rev. Thwaites said.

He was addressing a press conference at his National Heroes Circle offices, in Kingston, on October 2, to provide an update on the HFMD.

The Minister said he is pleased with all the steps taken before the outbreak of the HFMD, and the ongoing efforts to contain it. “Local health officials have responded promptly to calls from schools, and have provided the necessary guidance,” he added.

Rev. Thwaites informed that affected children have been sent home, until they are well again, and the schools have been disinfected to prevent the transmission of the virus, and this is in addition to normal sanitation activities in schools.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who also spoke at the press conference, said his Ministry moved early to deal with the HFMD, and while public health officials are doing their part, parents should remain vigilant so that they can detect signs of the virus, which include fever, blister-like eruptions on the tongue, inside the cheek and on the skin, poor appetite and a sore throat.

“The Ministry of Health and the Parish Health Departments began taking action the moment we started to receive reports from schools. The Ministry has also heightened its surveillance inslandwide to ensure that cases are reported in a timely manner,” the Minister said.

He cautioned against children hugging and making contact with affected persons, and sharing utensils.

“I want to assure parents that while every viral infection in children is a cause for concern, usually the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease goes away on its own, after about a week. However, if your child’s fever remains elevated, despite appropriate fever-reducing drugs, contact your child’s health provider,” Dr.  Ferguson said.