PAHO lends assistance in protocol implementation for Zika
The Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to receive assistance from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to strengthen and implement protocols in relation to Zika Virus and antenatal care. Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George noted the importance of improving the current protocols particularly as Zika Virus has been associated with neurological defects, such as microcephaly, in newborns. “This has indicated to us that now we have to work in terms of our existing protocols for antenatal care, that is the care of the pregnant woman and also in terms of us monitoring babies born from mothers who are suspected or confirmed with the Zika Virus Disease.” Dr. George said.
The PAHO one day workshop brought together, Paediatricians, Obstetricians, Family Nurse Practitioners, alongside other health professionals to discuss and compare guidelines from the Caribbean and the World Health Organisation in an effort to improve early diagnosis of pregnant mothers infected with the Zika Virus and improve the monitoring of babies who may have been affected with the disease.
“Presently we are monitoring women who have been suspected and confirmed with the viral disease during pregnancy. We have already had at least 30 mothers who have delivered babies. Thankfully so far we do not have any babies born who we suspect were affected by the Zika Virus.”
Dr. George added that increases in microcephaly have been noted in the region and the rest of the world thus St. Lucia she says will continue to monitor babies born to mothers suspected or confirmed with the Zika Virus.