JIS News

Jamaica’s delegation to the annual World Health General Assembly (WHGA) is traveling to Geneva this week. The delegation is being led by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who will be accompanied by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Grace Allen-Young and the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shiela Campbell-Forrester.
Some issues to be discussed at the World Health General Assembly include pandemic influenza preparedness and the sharing of resources, implementation of the International Health Regulations and Strengthening of Healthcare Systems with particular focus on Primary Healthcare.
The participants will also be looking at the monitoring of the health related Millennium Development Goals and the impact of climate change on health.
The WHGA is an annual event that brings together Health officials from across the world, to discuss pertinent health issues affecting countries. In mid-April, the World Health Organisation alerted the world to a public health threat of international concern regarding Influenza A (H1N1).
Jamaica started Influenza A (H1N1) specific preparedness when the Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan was activated on April 28, 2009. Since then, a number of measures have been taken to ensure that the virus does not spread in the country. These include, heightened surveillance and monitoring at the nations ports of entry, the distribution of health alert cards, increased medical personnel at the air and sea ports, and routine checking of immigration cards. A health desk has also been activated at the ports and persons who present with flu-like symptoms are interviewed and in some cases samples are taken from them for testing. In addition, Port Health workers board each vessel that arrives in the island to check the health status of the occupants.
An extensive public education and information campaign has also been undertaken with support from a number of stakeholder groups.
The country has recorded no cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus to date.

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