Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Health ministry moving to address dengue, flu overcrowding at hospitals

Published:Wednesday | December 12, 2018 | 4:11 PM
Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie - File photo.

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

The Ministry of Health is renovating a ward at the St Joseph’s Hospital in St Andrew in order to alleviate overcrowding from dengue and flu cases at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Kingston Public Hospital.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, chief medical officer at the ministry, admitted that hospitals have been facing serious challenges due to an increase in dengue and flu cases.

The ministry disclosed that there have been nine confirmed dengue cases, compared with zero in 2017.

In addition, there have been 570 suspected cases of dengue compared with 177 in 2017.

As it relates to deaths, one case has been confirmed with six other suspected cases.

McKenzie told reporters that the majority of dengue and flu cases will be mild.

She strongly advised that once an individual starts experiencing complications such as bleeding, they should seek urgent medical attention.

She indicated, too, that the challenges at health facilities are compounded by the fact they are receiving more trauma cases.

“We also have a situation where we have more elderly persons being taken to the hospital so that really adds to the beds being taken up for longer periods,” she explained.

“Even though our rates of admission have not increased, because persons are staying longer, they are not getting unto a bed and so they are waiting for longer periods in the emergency departments and sometimes on the ward.”

In the meantime, Dr Simone Spence, head of the health promotion and protection branch, expressed concern about the presence of mosquito breeding sites at households.

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