Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Restore public's trust in health ministry urgently, says doctors

Published:Monday | September 29, 2014 | 1:25 PM

Medical doctors say if the public trust in the health ministry is not urgently restored, a response to the outbreak of other illnesses such as the Ebola, will be difficult.

The government is being heavily criticised for an alleged slow response to the spread of the virus and for under reporting cases.

President of the Medical Association of Jamaica, Dr Shane Alexis agrees with public sentiments that there is a trust deficit.

He explains that this was fostered by an education gap between the Government’s actions and established World Health Organisation protocols on the reporting mechanisms on viruses.

Dr Alexis stresses that the Government must learn from areas in West Africa being affected by the Ebola virus and the impact of government responses on outbreaks in the affected countries.

He says health practitioners must also improve their interaction with the public on the virus.

Last week, the Health Ministry said it was discontinuing the official counting of confirmed cases of chikungunya.

Before that, it would have tests for chikungunya confirmed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency and then release information to the public based on those results.

However, there was a huge disparity in the number of persons with symptoms of the virus and the official numbers.

Meanwhile, there is also a growing belief that chikungunya is airborne.

However, in his national broadcast last night, health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson reiterated that the virus is not airborne but carried by a mosquito.

The Health Ministry says at least 60 per cent of the population will contract the virus.


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