JIS News

The Ministry of Health is re-establishing health desks at the Norman Manley and Sangster International airports during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, which begins in March.
The stations, which will be manned by public health nurses, with a doctor on call, form part of the Health Ministry’s efforts to amp up surveillance of malaria and other communicable diseases during the staging of the event. They will be located in the immigration area.
Dr. Marion Bullock Ducasse, Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health said there would also be posters in both airports displaying the symptoms of malaria, as the Ministry was adamant about regaining the country’s malaria-free status. “Immigration officers will look at the [entry and departure] card and where persons have indicated that they have been in malaria endemic countries, they will be referred to the health team,” she told JIS News in an interview.
“They will all be interviewed and issued a health alert card just reminding them that if they have any of the signs and symptoms, they need to go for medical care,” she informed.
Dr. Bullock Ducasse also noted that the Ministry was mindful of the fact that some persons, who live in the areas where malaria is endemic, tend to self-treat. “If they feel ill, they just take their own medication. Here we do not do that, so we encourage these persons, by speaking with them and giving them the health alert card at the airport, so that we can do full investigations, treatment and other control measures, such as vector control,” she stated.
The Director said that although the cases of malaria had declined satisfactorily, intensive vector control work would continue in order to ensure that there are no vectors to spread the disease around.