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The St. Ann Health Department is aiming to reduce the number of cases of gastroenteritis occurring in the parish.
Medical Officer of Health for the parish, Dr. Patrick Wheatle, confirmed that the increase in cases was picked up by the surveillance programme. He was speaking at the North East Regional Health Authority’s World Water Day Exhibition, at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre, Ocho Rios on Monday (March 22).
He pointed out that the surveillance programme showed that the number of cases had increased drastically in areas such as Ocho Rios and St. Ann’s Bay, and urged parishioners to develop best practices to prevent such water borne illnesses.
“As a result of this increase in the parish, we have embarked on a community and strategic campaign to educate the public, in an attempt to reduce the number of gastroenteritis cases,” he said.
“We are also appealing to the communities to ensure that especially children are taken to the nearest health facility, to prevent any form of adverse effect from the gastroenteritis,” Dr. Wheatle said.
He also thanked the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) for collaborating with the St. Ann Health Department on the Public Education Campaign.
He said that the theme for World Water Day, “Clean Water for a Healthy World”, was well selected.
“A lot of things can happen if we do not use clean water, and not just for the fact that gastroenteritis may result, but persons can also develop skin infections and even death can occur due to water borne illnesses,” Dr. Wheatle said.