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Gov't commits $350 million to fight dengue

Dr. Christopher Tufton and Dr. Morais Guy
 
With local dengue cases so far this year at more than 5,900, the government has committed to spending $350 million to fight the mosquito-borne virus.
 
During Tuesday afternoon's sitting of the House of Representatives, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, also outlined that there have been 88 reported dengue-related deaths this year.
 
Dr. Tufton noted that the country is now in a period of high alert as the rainy season will result in increased cases.
 
He said the ministry has activated the National Emergency Response Centre and funds have been allocated to drive the ministry's response up to the end of the year. 
 
Dr. Tufton urged Jamaicans to actively work to prevent infection, pointing out that more than 70 per cent of the time, mosquito breeding sites are found in or around the home. He also encouraged persons to see their doctor immediately after experiencing early warning signs or symptoms, to reduce the risk of severe dengue.    
 
The Health Minister also said climate change is resulting in more aggressive strains of the dengue virus, which has been exacerbated by the drought affecting Jamaica as well as the recent period of rainfall. 
 
Losing battle 
 
In the meantime, Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais Guy, said it appears the government is fighting a losing battle with dengue.
 
He said more resources need to be provided by the government to combat the virus. 
 
"Last year, we had 47 deaths. This year, we have almost a 100 per cent increase in that number from dengue related deaths," he highlighted. 
 
"You indicated that in July and in September, there was enhanced coordinated response, but yet we see in September 2019...10 deaths.... Now, you have made budgetary all provisions to take us until the end of December, but minister, at the end of the day, whatever is being done through the ministry is inadequate to stem this outbreak of dengue in the country," Dr. Guy argued.  
 
Child dies from dengue-related complications
 
It has been revealed that a child died in Manchester from dengue-related complications because he was mis-diagnosed by a private doctor.
 
The case was raised as Dr. Guy called for retraining of doctors in relation to detection of dengue.
 
At that point, the Health Minister revealed that a child died because he was initially given the wrong treatment. 
 
Dr. Guy also raised concern that public medical facilities have also been failing to properly care for dengue patients, resulting in the deaths.
 
He pointed to another death at the Percy Junor hospital in Manchester on Monday. 
 


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