JIS News

The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons affected by malaria to continue the prescribed treatment until advised otherwise.
“It is important that you take the medication since it is good for your health and it will prevent any further spread of the disease. It is a curable disease but we need to make sure that whatever we do, we do right and that means following instructions by medical personnel,” cautioned Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Sheila Campbell-Forrester during an interview with JIS News.
She said at this time of the outbreak, persons were expected to be bombarded with conflicting messages, such as alternative cures for the disease. However, she advised that patients should continue the treatment given by their health providers. “The treatment given is proven and tested. What we do not want to happen is for malaria to become endemic in Jamaica, so we are asking everyone to stick to tried and proven medication which we have given them,” she pleaded.
Outlining the treatment process, Dr. Campbell-Forrester said it spanned three days, starting off with a combination dose of chloroquine and primaquine on the first day. On days two and three, patients will be treated only with chloroquine.
“We know the taste is not as pleasant as we would like it to be. We, however, recommend that you take it on a full stomach, which is after you would have eaten,” she advised.
Four days after completion of the treatment process, the patient is then re-tested to make sure that the blood is clear of the parasite.
For those persons who travel frequently from country to country, especially where malaria is endemic, the Acting CMO advised that they contact their health department to access medication. “After you return there is also a period of time that you must continue to take the medication, just so that you are fully clean of the parasite,” she said.
Dr. Campbell-Forrester also assured that public sector pharmacies are well stocked with the required drugs. “We encourage persons to come to the public sector for treatment and drugs, as opposed to visiting the private sector facilities at this time. It is more a matter of ensuring that persons are adequately treated and also are able to obtain the drugs,” she said.
In the meantime, the Acting CMO said the Ministry was continuing its house-to-house checks in the affected areas and collecting smears daily. “We collect smears daily in the order of 200, so it is a continuous process and we have not stopped. As long as persons are coming forward with the symptoms we will take smears,” she said.
To date the government laboratory has received 4,149 smears, of which 2,972 have been read. There are 128 confirmed cases of malaria.

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