JIS News

There has been a steady decline in the number of confirmed cases of malaria occurring in Jamaica since the height of the outbreak in November and December 2006.
Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, in his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (June 19), said that as at May 2007, the attack rate had dropped to 1.1 per 100,000 population from 16.8 per 100,000 population at the peak of the outbreak in December 2006. “As at the end of May 2007, the cumulative total of cases in the island was 367,” he informed.
The Minister commended the support of local, regional and international health authorities in the fight against the disease. “This robust response of the public health system to the malaria threat has so far prevented any deaths from this disease, which kills millions elsewhere in the world,” he pointed out.
According to Mr. Dalley, when the evidence revealed the resurgence of malaria in Jamaica, the Ministry “was spurred into battle mode, to drive back the scourge of this disease and return the country to its disease free status.”
“Health workers in the areas of laboratory and field investigations, diagnosis and treatment, environmental control, public relations, and transportation, worked day and night (in) communities .and long hours away from their own family responsibilities,” he informed.
The Health Minister noted however, that even while the state moves to strengthen public health services to enable the population to enjoy a high standard of health, individuals also have a key role to play in protecting the environment.
“We need the support of families and communities to keep their environment clean and free of mosquito breeding sites,” he stated.
On another matter, Minister Dalley informed that a presentation will be made to Cabinet soon, for its endorsement of the Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan.
“The Ministry has completed an Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan, which is also in keeping with the World Health Organisation’s call for member states to develop and implement such plans,” Mr. Dalley said.
The plan focuses on limiting the health impact, economic and social disruptions from such a pandemic. “The health of families across this country is therefore being actively guarded and strategically planned,” he noted.

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