Although personnel from the Ministry of Health are going beyond the call of duty to respond to current dengue outbreak, Health Minister, Donville Inniss is again urging Barbadians to play their part in reducing mosquito breeding sites, as well as the spread of the disease.

He was speaking to the media following the opening ceremony of an Inter-Sectoral Workshop on Substance Abuse, convened today by the Ministry at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

"Throughout the Ministry there has been an increased emphasis on preventative strategies, not just in respect of dengue, but in terms of all the health care challenges that we have.?? Our goal is constantly to educate and sensitise Barbadians as to what they need to do to avoid becoming ill, and if they do, what they can do in their own

circumstance to mitigate against putting more pressure on the clinical and residential services of the Ministry," the Health Minister pointed out.

While noting that the current epidemic had not yet placed a burden on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Ministry, that it could not handle, Mr. Inniss said that his team had taken a proactive approach to managing the limited resources available to ensure that all persons who contract dengue get the best possible care.

"We have also behind the scenes, been sensitising the doctors in both the public and private sectors as to what to look for in the treatment protocols and I really must say that the Ministry has gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that … the health sector is in no way compromised," he emphasised.

The number of Barbadians infected with dengue fever for the year to date stands at 321, with three reported deaths.??

In response, the Environmental Health Department has implemented a three-month programme to decrease the mosquito population by increasing house-to-house inspections; investigating complaints within 24 hours; inspecting underground utility junction boxes; education; chemical control (fogging) and biological control (fish).

If persons are experiencing symptoms of dengue fever, including sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain; or symptoms of dengue haemorrhagic fever, such as bleeding from the nose, mouth and gums; frequent vomiting, severe abdominal pain or difficulty breathing, they are advised to seek medical attention at once.??

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