Preparedness for Zika & H1N1

Minister Nickolas Steele

Statement by the Minister for Health on Grenada’s Continued Preparedness and Response to the H1N1 and Zika Viruses.

Fellow Grenadians, these past few weeks, in the wake of reports of a resurgence of the Influenza A–H1N1 virus and an increase in the presence of the Mosquito-borne Zika virus in the Caribbean Community, my Ministry has been at the forefront on all levels taking the necessary action to educate and protect our citizens.

Our surveillance at major ports of entry in recent weeks has increased, public education and awareness are ongoing, mosquito fogging operations are ongoing, likewise stakeholder involvement on our best and most effective approach, towards confronting the challenges associated with these viruses, and how best to respond in protecting our citizens.

Let me assure you, that as Minister responsible for Health, I will continue to make every possible intervention on your behalf to ensure that we do all we can to keep these viruses at bay.

Brothers and Sisters, although we have taken the lead and promise to remain vigilant and at the forefront of this national response, I must remind every citizen that you too have a responsibility to protect yourselves by taking the necessary steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, keeping your surroundings and environment clean from mosquito breeding sites, using insect repellents, mosquito nets, practicing proper hand and cough hygiene, and most importantly listening to the advice from the Ministry of Health and your personal physician.

To date, my ministry has sent out fact sheets on the Zika virus to churches, educational institutions, the trade unions, the hotel sector, and other organizations for distribution. We have also started to air public service announcements on the radio and television, and health professionals from the Ministry will be engaged in another series of walkabouts later this week.

The fact that we now have cases of Zika in Barbados and H1N1 in neighbouring Trinidad means that we must be mindful that these viruses can be introduced here at anytime, due to our porous borders and the frequency of regional and international travel.

Finally, I will like to clearly state that to date there are no reported cases of the H1N1 nor Zika virus in our country. However, I implore you regardless of your affiliation or perception, to support the Ministry in its continued efforts, to prevent these viruses from reaching our shores.

I thank you.

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