Tufton: No re­ports of ZIKV mi­cro­cephaly

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

HEALTH MIN­IS­TER Dr Christo­pher Tufton says he has not re­ceived any re­port of ba­bies be­ing born in Ja­maica with mi­cro­cephaly as a re­sult of the Zika virus (ZIKV).

Speak­ing to jour­nal­ists while on a tour of health cen­tres in St James last week, the min­is­ter said they have on record more than 500 preg­nant women who have con­tracted ZIKV, but he is yet to be no­ti­fied that any of those cases have re­sulted in a case of mi­cro­cephaly. Dr Tufton said the min­istry re­mains very trans­par­ent about the pos­si­bil­ity of ba­bies be­ing born with the dis­ease, not­ing that if and when any re­port is con­firmed, de­tails will be made avail­able to the pub­lic. He added that the Gov­ern­ment has taken a proac­tive po­si­tion on the mat­ter and has es­tab­lished a fund to ad­dress the pos­si­bil­ity of ba­bies be­ing born with mi­cro­cephaly.

“We have put in place $50 mil­lion to pro­vide sup­port, such as early stim­u­la­tion and psy­choso­cial coun­selling for the moth­ers. We have also pro­vided train­ing in the re­spec­tive parishes in cer­tain of the health fa­cil­i­ties to deal with those cases, once they oc­cur,” Dr Tufton said. Mi­cro­cephaly is a birth de­fect where a baby’s head is no­tice­ably smaller than the av­er­age size of ba­bies of the same sex and age. Ba­bies with mi­cro­cephaly of­ten have smaller brains that might not have de­vel­oped prop­erly.


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