Fri | Nov 24, 2017

CRH ready to handle Zika virus – says hospital and WRHA

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St James.

Renowned businessman Tony Hart, who was recently installed as the new chairman of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), and Anthony Smikle, the chief executive officer of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), are both quite confident that the Montego Bay-based hospital is ready to deal with the Zika virus, should it reach Jamaica.

"We have put in very heavy control in the areas that have the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and we feel that we are doing the best we can under the circumstances," Hart told The Gleaner on Monday.

"It has not come to Jamaica, although it is expected to come, but we feel that we will be ready for it as best we can," stated Hart, making reference to reports of the Zika virus's spread across the Caribbean and Latin America, where, to date, 18 countries have confirmed cases.

In addressing CRH's preparation, Smikle said that the hospital was working closely with both the WRHA and the Ministry of Health.

"CRH is always ready as a type A hospital, but a lot of preparations are being made by the Ministry of Health, and it is an ongoing process," said Smikle. "We are confident that our partners in the Ministry of Health and the WRHA officers will be ready, and we are always ready for all eventualities.

"In terms of details, I would have to speak with persons such as the hospital's senior medical officer, who is also a designated officer, to speak on such matters, but by and large, preparations are ongoing," said Smikle.

The Ministry of Health recently released an advisory in which it urged women to delay getting pregnant due to the potential impact of the Zika virus on newborns as a link has been found between the virus and microcephaly. Microcephaly

is an abnormal stunting of the growth of the foetus's head arising from infection in the first

months of pregnancy.

The advisory also cautioned women who were already preg

nant to protect themselves

against being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is said to be the primary carrier of the virus, which also transmits Dengue and Chikungunya.