Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton (centre), Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dunstan E. Bryan (left) and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie (right) addressing the media during the Ministry of Health Quarterly Media Briefing at its New Kingston offices Tuesday morning (August 27, 2019)
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says 21 people have died from the dengue virus so far this year.
An update highlighted by the Ministry of Health during their quarterly media briefing in New Kingston on Tuesday, August 27.
According to Dr. Tufton, there has been a rise in suspected dengue-related deaths so far this year, when compared to 2018, “the assessment in the field is suggesting that some parishes are affected more than others [namely] Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Westmoreland, St. James, Trelawny and St.Ann.”
Consequently, Dr. Tufton affirmed that the health ministry has been insistent in its efforts to embark on initiatives to mitigate the spreading of the mosquito-borne viral infection.
In short order, an additional $130 million through the national health fund will be spent at the parish level for vector control activities, the minister underscored.
For that reason, Dr. Tufton is calling on the public to liaise with the 1200 vector control workers who were deployed a week ago in various parishes.
Also, Minister Tufton alluded to the government’s planned rollout of an intervention programme to reduce wait time in hospitals.
“We are recognizing the need to replace some of the equipment in hospitals [hence] we have earmarked 1.8 million Jamaican dollars as part of expenditure… to replace a number of critical diagnostic equipment that is either absent or non-functional or out-lived their useful life.”
Along with the removal of social cases from Hospitals, Dr. Tufton added.
Having had a dialogue with the local government, the Health and Wellness minister mentioned that details have been worked out to place them based on the case analysis of a social worker in an appropriate infirmary.
Social cases refer to those persons who have been living at hospitals for years.
Some of the individuals have been abandoned by their families.
“We cannot afford our support in the ongoing practice of persons abandoning their loved ones in public health institutions… taking up a bed, taking up resources that should be otherwise be assigned to persons who need it.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton says the Finance Ministry has also approved funding for an additional 1500 nurses to be added into the public health sector. This forms part of the Ministry’s effort to address the long-standing concern about job security and tenure, Dr. Tufton further explained.