• Speech

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to give an update to this honourable house and the nation on the current and ongoing challenge of the Dengue Outbreak that the country faces.

    This honourable house will recall, Mr. Speaker, that the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has declared a pandemic in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, with more than 2 Million cases and some 800 deaths in the first seven months of this year.

    In addition to dengue, this period of the year, Mr. Speaker, represents the peak season for upper respiratory tract infections, asthma and gastroenteritis, coupled with higher incidences of trauma from motor vehicle accidents and violence.

    Having declared an outbreak, Mr. Speaker, on January 3, 2019, the Ministry of Health & Wellness has ramped up its Enhanced Vector Control Programme.

    Programme to Date

    To date, Mr. Speaker, the country has spent an estimated J$581 Million Dollars on the response, including, Mr. Speaker:
    • Increasing temporary Vector Control Workers to 1,000;
    • Providing J$60M to the National Solid Waste Management Authority for Solid Waste Removal;
    • Expanding the Fogging Programme in high-risk communities;
    • Allocating approximately J$320M to Municipal Corporations and MPs for Vector Control activities in Communities;
    • And rolling out a Public Education Campaign in all forms of media.

    Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the Ministry has:
    • Increased Clinic Hours in some health centres from 3pm to 8:00 pm;
    • Provided Free Treatment for Children under 12 years old at the University Hospital of the West Indies; and
    • Activated Emergency Operation Centres at the Ministry and in all Parishes.

    Mr. Speaker, we have also:
    • Reviewed and updated all Clinical Protocols for Dengue and distributed them to Private and Public Doctors; and
    • Hosted Clinical Sessions with Private and Public Doctors for treatment of Dengue cases.
    At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we have also received technical support from PAHO, which has been reviewing our dengue response.

    Dengue Cases to Date

    As at November 7, 2019, Mr. Speaker, the National Surveillance Unit in the Ministry of Health & Wellness had in its electronic database a total of 12,794 notifications for dengue, received between January 1, 2018 and November 7, 2019 (2,235 in 2018 and 10,559 since 2019).

    Of the 12,794 notifications for the period, Mr. Speaker, 7,179 cases, with dates of onset in the period under review, have been classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed (1,065 with dates of onset in 2018 and 6,114 (85%) with dates of onset in 2019).

    Mr. Speaker, the majority of the suspected/presumed/confirmed cases were female, with the burden of the number of cases greatest among the 25 to 59 year olds followed by the 5 to 14 year old age cohort. However, Mr. Speaker, the highest rate of dengue cases was among the 5 to 14 year olds, followed by children 1 to 4 years old.

    Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a correction to the report that was made in Parliament regarding the statistics around the number of deaths. Deaths are notified as they occur, before there is full analysis of the cases and before post mortems and results are available.

    All the notified cases are investigated and outstanding results are collected and analysed. Based on this, the final classification is made. Not all notified deaths end up being classified as dengue-related deaths.

    As such, Mr. Speaker, as at November 7, there were 61 suspected/confirmed deaths, of which 17 were in 2018 and 44 in 2019.

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