Ministry stockpiles medication, improves clinical capacity to treat GBS
In addition to its public education efforts, the Ministry of Health has been increasing clinical capacity, including through the training of health-care professionals, infrastructure upgrades, increased human resources and acquisition of equipment, supplies and
medication to deal with the Zika virus and its associated complications, including Guillain-BarrÈ Syndrome (GBS).
According to Chief Medical Officer Dr Winston De La Haye, "We have been working very closely with health practitioners in the public and private sector and have provided clinical guidelines on diagnosing and treating complications of Zika. These have also been made available on our website."
The ministry has also:
• Stockpiled supplies of the requisite medication, including immunoglobulin, to appropriately treat GBS and other forms of Zika manifestation.
• Prepared and increased capacity at intensive care units (ICU) and high-dependency areas at hospitals.
• Acquired additional
ventilators and making repairs to others that are not presently functioning.
• Employed retired nurses and will also get others from Cuba to improve the human resource capacity, especially for ICUs.
Meanwhile, Dr De La Haye is advising persons who experience symptoms such as weakness of the limbs during or right after having Zika-like symptoms to visit their doctor immediately, as this could mean the onset of GBS.
Guillain-BarrÈ Syndrome is a rare condition in which a person's immune system attacks his or her nerves. According to the World Health Organization, people of all ages can be affected, but it is more common in adult men. Most people recover fully from even the most severe cases, but in 20-25 per cent of people with the condition, the chest muscles are affected, making it hard to breathe. Severe cases of Guillain-BarrÈ syndrome are rare, but can result in paralysis.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information may call the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre. Persons may also visit the ministry's website at moh.gov.jm and on www.facebook.com/themohgovjm; https://twitter.com/themoh