Health Ministry Defends Dengue Response Timeliness

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The Health Ministry is hitting back at critics who’re suggesting the government was trying to hide the current Dengue Fever outbreak affecting the country.

The Ministry announced yesterday that the nation has surpassed the epidemic threshold for December 2018 and is, in fact, grappling with an outbreak of the vector-borne disease.

The announcement of the outbreak comes exactly a month after the Health Ministry reported the country was hit by an almost 200-percent increase in cases of Dengue Fever last year compared to the corresponding period for 2017.

The last time Jamaica had a dengue fever outbreak was in 2016.

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The Health Minister says instead of yearly figures, the Ministry focuses on monthly numbers. Dr. Tufton maintains that the Ministry has been updating the nation on its status in relation to the Degue Fever virus.

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Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie, says the epidemic threshold for the mosquito-borne viral disease, dengue fever, varies from month to month.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie says during the rainy months of October and November, the threshold is higher. She explains that’s because there’s usually more mosquito breeding in the rainy season.

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She says a peak in suspected and/or confirmed dengue fever cases is also expected this month.

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Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.


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