Dengue is a global problem, says Health Minister

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (second right), hands out dengue awareness pamphlets to vendors in Westmoreland on September 13.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (second right), hands out dengue awareness pamphlets to vendors in Westmoreland on September 13.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says the dengue epidemic is not unique to Jamaica, as it is also a global and regional problem.

Following a vector control programme tour of sections of Westmoreland and St Elizabeth on September 13, Tufton said that in Latin America and the Caribbean, there have been almost two million reported cases of dengue and more than 700 deaths over the past seven months alone.

He added that it is inevitable that Jamaica would be feeling the effects of it and warned that a new approach must be taken to combat a disease that has been listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the leading causes of illness and death among children in some Latin American and Asian countries.

“We cannot use the same approach or the approach that we have used in the past. We have to adjust our approaches,” Tufton said.

“We also have to ensure that we sensitise and educate the public, so that persons can know what to do in their immediate environment.”

The Minister said the purpose of touring the two parishes was not to look for breeding sites, but to create a sense of awareness where residents would be better informed as to the important role they play in the fight to prevent the spread of dengue.