Is Chikungunya a full blown Jamaican epidemic?

OPPOSITION Spokes-man on Health Dr Kenneth Baugh says that there is now a “full-blown chikungunya epidemic” in Jamaica, as in the rest of the Caribbean.

However, he said that Jamaica’s health sector’s capacity to deal with the breakout of the disease has been badly impaired by its current economic policy, as well as the poor response to the crisis from the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) press conference on health and the economy, at its Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston, yesterday, Dr Baugh said that the social consequences of the severe austerity programme appears to have compromised the Ministry of Health’s ability to respond meaningfully to the emergency.

“We always have to make provisions (for this) because, from time to time, especially at this time of the year, there always can be crises,” Dr Baugh said.

He said that the resulting immobility of public health staff, uncollected garbage facilitating additional breeding sites for mosquitoes and the lack of surveillance activities have made the epidemic less controllable.

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