Health Ministry Makes Submission for More Supplies to Treat Influenza A


The Ministry of Health has made a submission to Cabinet for more supportive equipment and supplies, to enable health facilities to continue to effectively care for and treat patients with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Health and Environment Minister, Rudyard Spencer, made the disclosure at his post-Sectoral press briefing held today (July 16) at his office in Kingston.
The equipment and supplies are in addition to the 25 ventilators, which the Ministry is in the process of acquiring.
Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse, explained that the submission to Cabinet looked at the communication strategy, specifically at the area of service delivery.
“So, in addition to the ventilators, there are other supportive equipment and supplies for care of the patients, as well as to ensure that we can continue to do the appropriate laboratory testing and diagnoses,” she told journalists.
“As the patterns unfold and as we have additional information, we made the necessary request…it is being done in a phased basis. It is a very dynamic situation,” she noted.
She informed that the Ministry has also begun to phase in bed space with an additional 25 beds, to meet intensive care unit facility standards. There are now some 36 intensive care unit beds and 50 more are required to meet national standards.
In the meantime, Dr. Bullock DuCasse told journalists that as soon as there is a suspected case of Influenza A, treatment is applied immediately, even before the patient’s tests results are in. “That’s the protocol that is used worldwide. We don’t wait on the results to treat the patient, or counsel them, or isolate them. When we get the results, we carry out our further protocols, but the patient management starts as soon as the doctor says you are a suspected case,” she stated.
She that the Influenza A strain is mild, with up to 70 per cent of persons recovering without seeking medical attention, while more than 30 per cent will seek medical attention, and only about one per cent might require hospitalisation.
“So right now, what we are putting in place is adequate based on those projections. The whole world is watching, under the guidance of the World Health Organisation (WHO), how this new virus will unfold, so we continue to take that guidance, as we are doing everything in keeping with the World Health Organisation,” she stated.

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