More cash injected to fight malaria

The Jamaica Cabinet Monday approved an additional $58.4 million for the islands ongoing antimalaria programme, bringing to almost $90 million the sum being spent to fight the outbreak.

Two weeks ago, just days after the first four malaria cases were revealed, Cabinet had approved an initial $30.2 million towards the campaign.

However, after the new cash injection was revealed by Information Minister Donald Buchanan at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester, acting chief medical officer at the Health Ministry, confirmed that the number of infected persons had climbed to 103.

Dr. Campbell Forrester also disclosed that, of the first batch of 317 samples sent for testing in Atlanta, 15 have returned positive.

She said the results of the second batch are expected by today.

She said the ministry was still receiving 200 to 300 samples per day.

“There will still be some that remain for us to be tested, but we are making headway in getting the smears tested,” she said.

Meanwhile, although there has been one confirmed case of malaria in Portmore, St. Catherine, organisers of Sting 2006 have been granted permission for the staging of the annual stage show by the St. Catherine Health Department.

The permission letter, dated last Friday, was issued under the condition that persons attending the event, scheduled for ‘Boxing Night’, at Jamworld Entertainment Complex, are advised to wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants and socks.

The letter also stated that permission can be withdrawn, depending on emerging public health evidence.

Isaiah Laing, chairman of Supreme Promotions, organisers of Sting 2006, said steps have been taken to ensure that patrons are protected against the transmission of the disease.

“The venue will be fogged tonight (yesterday) and again four days before the show,” said Mr. Laing.

No cancellation

The Urban Development Cor-poration, promoters of the family event, Fire Works on the Water-front, said it has not received any directives that the show should be cancelled.

The show, held on New Year’s Eve, is staged annually in the downtown community.

“In two days time, we will make a formal announcement about the event, but it will be held,” said a representative.

However, the Health Ministry’s release also stated that its policy on mass gatherings in the areas where malaria has been identified will be reviewed today when a complete assessment of the effectiveness of the fever surveillance and vector control programmes in these areas has been completed.

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