JIS News

The Ministry of Health is reporting that an intensive vector control programme is currently underway, following the passage of Hurricane Dean, which has resulted in a pile-up of debris and the accumulation of stagnant water.
Speaking with JIS News, Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry, Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, noted that the programme would be extended islandwide and would include mosquito, fly and rodent control.
The public health teams, she explained, were also trying to ensure that all the dead animals were properly buried. “Where owners are not accepting responsibility for dead animals, the Ministry will undertake burial in a bid to avert any further breeding of vectors,” she said.
“Persons need to be very careful when going outside.they should ensure that they are wearing shoes at all times as they can sustain injuries from nail stick or other sharp objects, such as broken glass,” she cautioned.
Additionally, she informed that persons should also avoid pools of water as they may be contaminated. “We are also appealing to persons to ensure that the water they are using for drinking, preparing food and washing vegetables are made safe,” Dr. DuCasse said.
To ensure safety of water for household purposes, she explained that persons may boil or add bleach to the water. “If they are boiling the water they need to let the water boil for at least five minutes. For bleach, they need to use two drops per quart of water. They need to mix the water a little and then allow it to stand for at least 30 minutes, so that the bleach can interact with the germs and ensure that the germs are killed,” she advised.
Failure to take these precautionary measures, she noted, might result in individuals developing gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.
Meanwhile, Dr. DuCasse informed that although several health facilities across the island suffered damage as a result of the hurricane, 17 of the 23 public hospitals were now offering full services and the remaining six are expected to be opened by Friday, August 23.
“Both the Victoria Jubilee Hospital and the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston sustained roof damage. We have had severe roof damage at the Bellevue Hospital and the roof at the National Chest Hospital was also damaged. We had some structural damage at the Black River Hospital in the X-Ray and Medical Records Departments,” she further noted.
“We are still assessing the situation; however, due to limited communication the Ministry has dispatched a rapid assessment team to St. Catherine and Clarendon to get up-to-date reports and tomorrow we will complete the rest of the Southern Region,” she said.
Commenting on the state of the island’s health centres, she said that “all the facilities are assessing their damage and services are being offered in the North-East region, covering Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann and St. James.”
She maintained that the Ministry was taking all the necessary steps to ensure that the health sector is returned to normality as soon as possible and that all measures are being taken to prevent and control the outbreak of diseases.

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