Cases of dengue fever persist, and challenges remain. As Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton stresses repeatedly, the best way to deal with it is to destroy breeding sites (80 percent of them are around the home). As he also pointed out – dengue fever is here to stay. There used to be a particular season, but now it is likely to be around at any time of year.
It is not just a Jamaican problem. Cases of dengue are increasing rapidly across the Americas – including Central America, where it is being described as “unprecedented.” In Honduras most of the deaths are children under fifteen years old. Brazil has already had two million cases this year and Mexico’s dengue cases have doubled over last year. Our neighbors in the Caribbean are also fretting about increasing numbers of dengue cases. And Florida even has some local cases.
Remember, there is no cure, no vaccine for dengue fever (yet). Let us just seek to keep it at bay. I am curious about the mosquito, and hoping to learn and write more, soon, about this tiny but destructive creature. Meanwhile, the Ministry has issued this notice, so there are more options for children at hospitals (and also at Health Centres, many of which are now open late). Please share this information!
Children Under 12 years can be seen at the University Hospital
KINGSTON, JAMAICA, October 29, 2019: Effective immediately parents of children 12 years and younger can access free medical care at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). The Ministry of Health & Wellness has announced that children with any illness can be taken to the University Hospital, seen and treated by the medical team there.
This arrangement is part of the Ministry’s continued response to the increase in viral illnesses and consequent overcrowding at hospitals, usually seen this time of year including at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. “Children and the elderly are among the most vulnerable groups especially at this time, as the country continues to battle with the increase in dengue cases, and as the flu and gastro seasons intensify,” Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor McKenzie said.
Jamaicans are reminded to only take paracetamol and to visit the nearest health centre if the fever or any respiratory illness lasts more than three days. The Chief Medical Officer also noted that “Currently there are approximately 20 health centres across the island, which have extended opening hours, some up to 10 p.m. We encourage persons to visit their health centre as needed and allow the health professional to decide if treatment is needed beyond primary care.”