Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has announced the allocation of an additional $60 million to fund the Ministry’s vector control programme, in light of recent dengue fever outbreaks in the island.
Mr. Spencer told journalists at a press conference at the Ministry, in downtown Kingston, today (September 3), that the funds will be used for heightened surveillance, public education, vector control, and clinical management, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
The money will also be used for laboratory capacity strengthening, training, social mobilisation, inter-sectoral collaboration, international co-operation and resource mobilisation.
As at September 1, there have been 123 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever and an additional 729 suspected cases. There were four confirmed cases of the more severe dengue haemorrhagic fever and an additional 37 suspected cases. One death has so far been reported from the more severe form of the virus.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (left), and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Jean Dixon (right), listen keenly as Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse provides details on the outbreak of dengue fever, at a press conference at the Ministry of Health, in downtown Kingston, today (September 3).
Mr. Spencer informed that all parishes have reported dengue cases with Kingston and St. Andrew, Manchester, St. Ann and St. Mary showing the highest number of cases.
He said the Ministry has intensified activities, including fogging and oiling, in all parishes, and will continue its intervention until it is satisfied that the outbreak is under control.
With the new academic year about to begin, Mr. Spencer also urged school administrators to ensure that the grounds of their institutions are free of mosquito breeding sites.
“The start of the new school year presents additional challenges with large school populations at risk from infected mosquitoes. Parish Health Departments are working closely with school administrators to carry out the necessary vector control and public education activities to minimise the risk of exposure to the youth population,” he pointed out.