Minister Says No Cholera Cases in Jamaica, But Precautions Being Taken


Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has assured the nation that there are currently no cases of cholera in the island.
Mr. Spencer made the disclosure after meeting with members of the health team Wednesday (October 27), when all aspects of the Ministry’s preparedness and response programme were discussed at his Ministry, downtown Kingston.
The Minister said that a key feature of the national programme involves the targeting of areas, such as New Market, New River, Chigwell, Wakefield and Pedro River, which were severely affected by flooding, arising from the recent passage of Tropical Storm Nicole.
Retired Public Health Inspectors will be engaged to complement the health staff currently involved in routine and mitigation activities, to reduce the risk of disease outbreak. The public health risks include diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, leptospirosis and gastroenteritis.
“There will be consistent monitoring and environmental protection activities in these communities by our public health team. We are calling out retired public health inspectors to assist with the human resource needs specific to the vulnerable areas,” the minister said.
He stated that, despite not having any confirmations of cholera in Jamaica, the health sector continues to take appropriate precautions to ensure that they are in a position to respond decisively to any eventuality.
“Cholera is currently confirmed in neighbouring Haiti, which is quite close to Jamaica so we have to enhance our preparedness activities,” he said.
He said that the Ministry will remain vigilant, and has already began sensitising health workers to the risks.
The Minister has directed members of the team to provide daily updates on activities related to the country’s cholera preparedness and response strategy. He said stakeholders are to be called in to various meetings, over the next few days, and health partners will be asked to assist in the process, where possible.
Mr. Spencer is scheduled to meet with the technical team again on Friday (October 29), 2010.
Jamaica has not had a case of cholera since 1852, and the country has managed to remain cholera free, despite outbreaks in other parts of the world.

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