More Staff for Airport Health Desks for CWC Semi Final

The Ministry of Health will boost the capacity of its health desks at both the Norman Manley and the Sangster International airports in time for the semi final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 on April 24.
This as hundreds of visitors are expected to flock the island. The health desks form part of the malaria surveillance system to tackle the outbreak of the disease, which resurfaced late last year after a 50 year absence.
According to the Acting Head of the Malaria Prevention and Control Programme, Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller under normal circumstances, the help desk would have a small staff comprising a nurse, a public health inspector and a supervisor. However, in light of the expected increase in visitor traffic there is a need to deploy more staff, she told JIS News.
Immigration officers will look at the entry/departure card and where persons have indicated that they live in or have visited a malaria endemic country, then they will be referred to the health desk.
“The operations of the stations will be as such that the nurses will talk non-threateningly to visitors, who come from malaria endemic countries, to find out if they are having any symptoms and if they would like any help,” she said.
“We also tell them that they should be properly dressed that they should use a repellant and they should avoid going out as much as possible at certain times of the evening. If they really want to go out then they should be properly dressed in long sleeve shirts and pants and make sure they are light in colour as mosquitoes like dark colours,” Dr. Lewis-Fuller explained.
In addition, staff will provide information that visitors can use in the event that they develop any signs or symptoms of the disease.
The public health inspector is required to inspect the plane upon arrival to see if there are any mosquitoes or insects in the baggage compartment, among other areas.
“We are also looking at the health desks at the seaports and we will apportion the staff as best as we can and in relation to the work load,” Dr. Lewis-Fuller stated. The health desk will now be a permanent part of the malaria surveillance mechanism in Jamaica.

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