JIS News

An influenza pandemic simulation exercise, aimed at testing the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) pandemic plan, and raising awareness of the plan, was held at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay on Tuesday (Sept. 25).
The exercise was carried out by the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), which covers the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Approximately 30 representatives from various Government organizations within the WHRA participated, which according to PAHO representative, Alan Ross, is the fourth in a series being carried out across the island. He told JIS News that getting the working of the plan down to the local level, is key to its successful implementation, if the need arises.
Epidemiologist in the WRHA, Dr. Maung Aung, told JIS News that the MOH’s influenza pandemic plan was completed earlier this year. He indicated that carrying out simulation exercises was an essential part of any plan developed by the Ministry. “Any plan, simulation exercise is a part of it. If you have a plan, you have to make sure that the plan works, so you do simulation exercises at all times,” he stated.
The Jamaican influenza pandemic plan is the authoritative guide for the Jamaican health sector, encompassing the actions required to effectively and efficiently prepare for, prevent, and control the medical and health aspects in the event of an influenza pandemic.
It details all procedures, guidelines and actions to be taken within and by the health sector, and outlines the steps to be taken by the other ministries and agencies.
Information contained in the MOH plan, reveal that historically, there have been three influenza pandemics in the 20th Century, which resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. “While there has not been a pandemic in almost three decades, there have been recent outbreaks of a highly pathogenic type of influenza that has given rise to a growing concern,” the plan outlines.
It further states that as of February 6, there have been 272 confirmed human cases of avian influenza reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from 11 countries.

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