Some Jamaica health centres in areas affected by malaria were kept busy on the weekend as several persons with symptoms of the disease visited the sites to get tested.
When The Gleaner visited the Kiwanis Maternity Clinic in Tivoli Gardens at 1pm Sunday, a nurse on duty said about seven persons were tested, while several others were observed waiting to be tested.
Elevenyearold Kadajah Brown of Tivoli Gardens was one of the patients waiting. She has been having fever since early November and wakes up with muscle pains each morning.
A tearful Kadajah told The Gleaner that she was afraid to get tested for malaria because she was scared of the needle. After much coaxing from her neighbour, she went ahead and got tested.
Jackie, another resident of Tivoli Gardens said she has been having fever and muscle pains since last Wednesday.
“The one night I come out and sit in the park on Industrial Terrace, I start to feel sick,” she told The Gleaner.
“But I am not worried because it is not like it is something that cannot be treated,” said Jackie.
Meanwhile, despite the public education campaign by the Ministry of Health to prevent and control the spread of malaria, some persons in the affected areas still believe that they cannot be infected with the disease.
Kaymarie Senior a 17-year-old resident of Tivoli Gardens who accompanied her mother to get tested for malaria, said she did not believe that she could catch the disease.
“Mi jus nuh feel like mi nah guh ketch it because mi use to the road and the mosquito them use to mi,” she said.
As such, she noted that she has not been taking the necessary precautions such as wearing long sleeve clothing, sleeping under mosquito nets, among other things, to prevent her from catching the life threatening disease.
“Mi nah wear nuh long sleeved shirts because di time too hot,” she said.
Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, director of emergency services in the Ministry of Health said the information is reaching a majority of persons but there are some who still need to be convinced.
On Saturday, more than eight persons visited the Comprehensive Health Centre, Kingston to have their blood withdrawn, to be tested.
The Health Ministry reported on December 1, that there were four confirmed cases of malaria. The number has since climbed to more than 56.
The initially affected areas are: Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town and Delacree Park, all in Kingston. Cases have since been found in Rose Town, Wilton Gardens (Rema), Whitfield Town, among other communities in Kingston. Cases were also found in Portmore, Sydenham Villas and Church Pen in St. Catherine.
The Health Minister, Horace Dalley, said his ministry is expected to uncover more cases of malaria because the incubation period of the infection is seven to 14 days.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bullock-DuCasse said her ministry Sunday continued fogging affected areas and health teams continued fever surveillance. She also noted that persons who were identified as suspected cases, once linked to affected areas, were given anti-malaria medications.