Health officials in Jamaica assure of adequate supplies to treat Zika, Guillian-Barre

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health says the country has adequate medical supplies to treat Zika virus infections and officials are going all out to control the population of the mosquito that spreads the illness, including calling out retired public health inspectors to help out.

Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr. Sonia Copeland, says the Ministry has stockpiled over two million Paracetamol tablets and 2,000 bottles of liquid medicine.

And she says there is an adequate supply of immunoglobulin to treat Guillian-Barré syndrome, a condition linked to Zika, which affects the nervous system, often resulting in muscle weakness and, in some instances, paralysis.

Speaking at a Gender and Zika Public Forum on Tuesday, Dr. Copeland said new ventilators are also being procured to treat Zika-related complications at public hospitals and non-functional instruments at these institutions will be repaired.

She indicated that an Integrated Vector Management Plan has also been developed.

“We have to make sure we can control the vector population; so we have brought in adequate chemicals and equipment to appropriately respond. But we have to also be responsible in how we use these chemicals, because of environmental concerns,” Dr. Copeland stated.

The Ministry has also recalled some retired public health inspectors to boost its vector management capacity, while training for current health workers has been ramped up and will continue until the end of this month.

Dr. Copeland said that would significantly boost activities already undertaken to counter the Zika virus, including the protocol developed for detection and diagnoses, following a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the National Virology Reference Laboratory at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) last month.

To date, Jamaica has recorded six cases of Zika infection, which is characterized by a rash outbreak, fever, conjunctivitis, joint and muscle pain, headache and weakness. (Caribbean 360)

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