THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have just nursed my daughter through the debilitating effects of dengue fever - prolonged fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrahoea, vomiting, itchy rash and low platelet counts which eventually caused her to be hospitalised at the University Hospital of the West Indies paediatric ward.
No parent wishes to see his/her child suffer. We are in the middle of a dangerous epidemic which is putting thousands of Jamaicans - including our children - at risk. I urge anyone who can to join me in calling on the Government to increase vector-control measures now. We need more aggressive and consistent efforts to clean drains, inspect water-collection sites and to spray major mosquito-breeding areas and neighbourhoods with a high incidence of dengue.
These steps, along with the public education campaign that has already begun, should eventually bring this dreadful but preventable illness under control.
I recognise that my family is blessed to not only have access to an excellent paediatrician but to count a number of different types of talented physicians among our friends - all of whom offered guidance and support.
I would like to use this forum to thank them and also to commend the thoughtful, efficient and hard-working medical staff at Andrews Memorial Hospital and the UHWI Paediatric Ward who took care of our six-year-old daughter while she was ill and in tremendous pain.
The staff were patient and thorough in explaining her condition to us and to her. Both hospitals made us feel comfortable and showed concern for our daughter, for which we are grateful. She is thankfully now on the road to recovery.
Instead of being forced to be reactive, we can take action to prevent this horrible disease by becoming more routinely vigilant of water collection in our homes, schools and communities and by consistently demanding that the Government act immediately to combat its spread, and strategically to prevent its reoccurrence.
Jacks Hill, St Andrew