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Ministry of Health did not drop the ball – CMO

Ministry of Health did not drop the ball – CMO
Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, CMO in the Ministry of Health

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Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache says if one checks, the Ministry of Health’s social media postings and press releases, it will be seen that ministry officials have been talking about dengue fever for months.

The CMO was responding on Tuesday to a journalist at Cabinet Room who asked her to comment on the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) press release which stated that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government and the Minister of Health Luke Browne are asleep at the wheel while the number of dengue fever cases here skyrocket.

“We have been in the field for months talking about dengue, “the CMO told reporters.

She said that last Saturday, a communications consultant said to her that often times it seems as if Vincentians have to be clobbered over the head before they pay attention.

“I might get licks for this, but anyhow, my back is broad,” the CMO commented while noting that they have developed a plan looking at hurricanes, COVID and dengue fever.

“We have been out there giving messages, we have the SVG Health page on Facebook. I recommend, I suggest that every Vincentian become very familiar with that page. There is a lot of information there.

“It’s unfortunate that Vincentians think that we dropped the ball, however, we will continue working because that’s what we do in the Ministry of Health. We understand our role, but we understand that we can’t do it without the public and we will continue to try to engage the public so that we can all have a healthier life,” Keizer-Beache told media people and persons viewing and listening to the briefing.

Keizer-Beache said the last big outbreaks of dengue were in 2010 and 2012 so what that means is tha

anybody born after 2012 has not been exposed to dengue.

“So we have a virgin population, the eight year olds and lower,” the CMO said while noting that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever is a day biting mosquito.

This means that the mosquito is operating in a virgin population as most children of eight years old and under are in school or outside during the day.

Keizer-Beache is urging persons to seek medical care if they feel they have dengue fever despite the overcrowding at the local health facilities.

She said that on Monday, the polyclinic at Buccament saw 100 patients in one day and this is something that is being reported throughout the island.

“But we still want persons to seek care,” she stressed.

As of Monday, the country had recorded 374 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever but it is a fact that there are more cases as the mentioned number does not take into account persons who were not tested but are positive for dengue fever.

August produced 50 cases that were diagnosed after persons went to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and as of September 20, they were 167 persons seeking care for dengue, 59 of which were admitted to hospital, 37 being children with two reported deaths.

One of the persons who succumbed was a middle aged female while the other was a nine-year-old boy. Both are from the Calliaqua district.

Most cases have come from the Buccament, Kingstown and Calliaqua districts.

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