Thu | Dec 7, 2023

Extended opening hours for select health centres as part of dengue outbreak response

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2023 | 9:11 PM
Director of Health Services Planning and Integration, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Nadine Williams, speaking during Wednesday’s (September 27) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House. - Contributed photo.

Starting Monday, October 2, Jamaicans will be able to take advantage of extended opening hours for all Type Three to Five health centres islandwide as the country faces a dengue outbreak.

Speaking during Wednesday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Director of Health Services Planning and Integration, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Nadine Williams, said the new closing time for the centres will be 8 p.m.

“This will allow for persons to access the facilities to receive treatment and referrals where necessary,” she noted.

Also, as of Monday, October 2, children under 18 years who visit the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) will not be charged a fee or be required to pay for the services at the facility.

This is in light of the fact that most confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been seen in children, ages five to 14.

The dengue outbreak was declared on Saturday, September 23, with Jamaica having surpassed the epidemic threshold for July and August and on a trajectory to do the same in September.

The dominant strain affecting the island is Dengue Type 2, which last predominated in 2010.

As of Friday, September 22, Jamaica had recorded 565 suspected, presumed and confirmed cases of dengue.

Of that number, 78 cases had been confirmed, with the majority seen in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and St Thomas.

As part of heightened measures to minimise the outbreak, Williams informed that the National Health Fund (NHF) will provide resources to undertake dengue mitigation strategies, such as the removal of bulky waste and drain-cleaning across the country.

Additionally, the National Health Emergency Operations Centre as well as emergency operations centres in all parishes have been activated and are having weekly meetings, Dr. Williams said.

She advises the public that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector that transmits dengue, breeds in any containerised environment.

Some of the common breeding sites are drums, tyres, buckets, and animal feeding containers in which water can accumulate.

“Persons are encouraged to play their part in ensuring that the cases are minimised by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding, keeping surroundings free of debris, destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites, wearing protective clothing, using DEET-containing repellant and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed,” Williams emphasised.

- JIS News

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