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Health system under severe pressure from dengue, flu-like symptoms - Tufton

Published:Monday | February 18, 2019 | 9:44 AM
Dr Christopher Tufton - FIle photo

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the public health system is under severe pressure arising from the influx of persons seeking medical attention for suspected dengue, gastroenteritis and other flu-like symptoms.

Regarding dengue, Tufton last week told parliament that as of February 8, there were 1,166 suspected, presumed or confirmed dengue cases since the start of the year.

There were 1,023 such cases in 2018.  

He also disclosed that there were 29 suspected dengue-related deaths since 2018 with six such cases being confirmed by laboratory tests.

Five of the cases were in Kingston and St Andrew and one from Portland.

Tufton, in a statement, said that a number of facilities are experiencing heavy overcrowding.

“In Kingston, Bustamante Hospital for Children is particularly affected, with mothers coming in with children experiencing severe symptoms,” Tufton said.

He said measures have been put in place to combat the problem including the waiving of fees until further notice as well as extending opening hours at certain facilities. 

Parents of children experiencing flu-like symptoms are being advised to go to the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew for assessment and treatment.

Until further notice, the government will waive fees charged at the facility. 

"We are reminding citizens that we have extended opening hours for a number of health centres in the corporate area,” Tufton said.

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