Min­istry of Health Gives Zika Up­date

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

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.

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