Malaria spreads in Jamaica

President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, Edith Allwood-Anderson, yesterday urged the Government to ensure that there are adequate medical supplies available to fight the malaria outbreak that is currently affecting sections of Kingston and St. Catherine.

“We are encouraging that the necessary prevention things are put in place and the supplies necessary be made available to the nursing staff,” Mrs. Allwood-Anderson told The Gleaner yesterday.

“We are prepared to carry our end of the bargain (but) make all supplies available where health workers are,” the NAJ president added.

Some of the resources she pointed to were mosquito nets, insect repellents, medications, transportation for nurses who work long hours, among other things.

Yesterday, Minister of Health Horace Dalley said there were 31 confirmed cases including those persons who had been treated and sent home.

He said the number of cases was expected to peak and then taper off, as 90 per cent of the mosquito breeding sites had been destroyed, and there should be no more adult mosquitoes to bite people.

The Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, said there were two confirmed cases of malaria in the Church Pen area of the Old Capital, and that while the St. Catherine Parish Council was using proactive measures to deal with the problem, the process is being frustrated by the new rules set up by the Local Government Authority, that has advised the council that all contracts should go through the Attorney-General’s Department.

“And this process is hampering the ability of the council to move forward in a proactive way. Earlier, there was a pile-up of garbage in the Spanish Town Market as we could not sign the contract for renewal,” he said

And chairman of the Health Committee in the St. Catherine Parish Council, Dr. Raymoth Notice, said more public education was needed in St. Catherine to inform the public about malaria.

In the meantime, the United States and Canada have advised their citizens to take antimalarial medication if they have plans to stay in Kingston.

The U.S. advisory comes after one of its citizens was confirmed among the first 21 cases, after staying in Jamaica between October 29 and November 6.

Mark Waller, public affairs officer at the British High Commission, said his Government had decided not to issue a warning at this time, following discussions with Dr. Marion Bullock-DuCasse, director of emergency, disaster management and special services in the Ministry of Health.

Mr. Waller said that Dr. Bullock-DuCasse has assured that the situation was under control and localised to west Kingston.