Ministry of Health Gives Zika Update
Randell Browne was diagnosed with a rare medical condition called Haemophilia B at the age of six months. He had been admitted to the Sick Kids Hospital in Canada, his birth country, where he had been receiving treatment, when his Saint Lucian mother returned to the island with Randell in 2007. Randell has been here in St. Lucia for the last eight years and has since been battling this condition.
Haemophilia B is a rare genetic bleeding disorder in which affected individuals have insufficient levels of a blood protein called Factor IX, which is a blood clotting factor. The specialized proteins are required for the clotting of blood, the process by which blood seals a wound to stop bleeding.
According to Randell’s mother, the youngster has been hospitalised on numerous occasions, but has received no assistance in terms of treatment of his condition. Lisa Browne says that his medical situation has escalated to the point where it is a near impossible feat for the nineyear-old to concentrate on his schoolwork. “His grades have been declining,” she explained, “as he has been missing school rather frequently.”
She went on to share, “Randell has a lot of potential,” and is pleading for assistance from the public so that a difference can be made in the boy’s life. “This is a silent killer,” she said. “I am asking for donations so we can get Randell the treatment he needs. Currently, he is unable to walk as a result of the bleeding in his knees and so he requires immediate treatment before his condition worsens.”
Randell is presently at the Victoria Hospital fighting relentlessly to retain his youthful smiles. “Please pray for him,” said Browne, concerned and heartbroken by the plight of her son. She welcomes any form of assistance from the public and says that whatever alms or financial aid is extended to her son will be greatly appreciated.
Persons interested in contributing to changing little Randell’s life for the better, are asked to forward donations to account number 22793 at the Co-operative Bank in Micoud. Alternatively donations can be forwarded to the Bank of Nova Scotia, Swift Code NOSCLCLC, transit number 20735, account number 63476. Persons who wish to use Western Union as their preferred method of transfer are asked to do so, with Lisa Browne (mother) as the recipient.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations has continued its regular media updates on the surveillance of Zika virus in Saint Lucia. To date the Ministry has reported no confirmed cases of Zika on the island.
Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Sharon, Belmar-George said regular surveillance is ongoing at all Wellness Centres and Hospitals around the island targeting persons who exhibit signs and symptoms of the virus with close attention paid to their recent travel history.
“Our intensive week campaign during the month, March 14th - 19th was very successful because during that week we were able to intensify the message and ensured that we did quite a bit to increase vector awareness for Dengue fever, Chikungunya and the Zika virus.”
This year’s Vector Awareness Week was launched in the community of Babonneau. Motorcades were held in the north and south of the island bellowing the message over loudspeaker while distributing flyers to residents. Officers from the Ministry of Health made a number of radio and television appearances on popular talk shows providing relevant information on the Zika virus. Several community clean-up exercises were conducted in collaboration with schools and soca fraternity in Saint Lucia.
CMC will work with the tent leaders to ensure that the logistical and financial arrangements are put in place for contracting relevant service providers and ensuring that all requirements such as venue, sound, security and other related aspects are adequately provided for in the hosting of the Calypso season up to the quarter-final stage. Beyond that the Carnival Planning and Management Authority (CPMA) will remain as the agency responsible for the production of the national events of the Calypso Monarch, Power and Groovy Preliminaries and the Power and Groovy Soca Monarch. CMC will, however, assist CPMA as a stakeholder in the production of these events.
The Government of Saint as well as community and constituency groups.
“We also launched our schools poster competition which is still ongoing. As you are aware, Zika virus is spread similar to Chikungunya and Dengue fever by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito so source reduction remains a priority. New research has also shown that the spread of the Zika virus by sexual activity is also more important than recently thought as there have been some cases in the US.”
Dr. Belmar-George reiterated that despite new research pointing to the spread of Zika through sexual activity, the main mode of transmission is still the bite of an infected Lucia has agreed to provide financial support to assist with the management of the Calypso season and CMC will be held accountable for the disbursement of those funds in meeting the related costs. Additionally CMC will engage with the business community to secure opportunities for corporate sponsorship of the season.
CMC will conduct a review of the competition rules to allow for demographic and other changes in the Calypso genre to encourage wider participation, and in collaboration with the Calypso tents, will prepare the schedule of the tent shows up to the quarter-finals.
CMC is expected to consult with a cross-section of stakeholders including Calypso writers, arrangers, musicians, sound engineers and other interested parties in charting mosquito.
“We are asking persons, communities, groups to continue to be vigilant in and around your home in terms of reducing the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and also for the different communities to continue the various campaigns that we’ve commenced in the various parts of the island.”
With the recent rainfall experience on the island, Dr. Belmar-George appeals to the populace to heighten their vigilance for mosquito breeding sites: in drums, flower vases, tyres and other water receptacles, to reduce the threat of vector-borne diseases. the way forward for Calypso. There is an underlying objective of revitalizing the Calypso Association so that Calypsonians and the relevant interested parties can collaborate to effectively rescue the art form.
Appointed members of the newly established CMC are: Mr. Claude Paul (Chairman) Dr. Mkabi Walcott Ms. Alison King Mr. Finbar Cotter (Accountant - Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries) Mr. Eddie Hazel Mr. Victor Poyotte Mr. Teddy Francis
CMC has already begun meeting with the representatives of the various tents and will broaden those discussions in the coming weeks to formulate solutions for staging a Calypso season that will be pleasing to Calypsonians, Calypso lovers and the public at large.
Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Sharon, Belmar-George.