Health Minister Says Regional Approach needed to combat Zika

Aedes Egypti mosquito

by Linda Straker

Health Minister Nickolas Steele has revealed that the number of Grenada’s suspected and confirmed Zika cases have increased, and wants to see a wider regional approach to deal with the challenges of the situation.

“This situation is bigger than any one country can handle, and so it has to be approached regionally,” said Steele, who also disclosed that he has called for an emergency meeting of regional health ministers with PAHO to discuss the matter.

“We have to pull our resources together,” said Steele, who explained that based on scientific evidence, the re-emergence of these health problems such as zika, yellow fever and ChikV — which are linked to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, are as a direct consequence of climate change.

He disclosed that Grenada at present has 9 confirmed Zika cases and 30 suspected cases.

Over the past weeks, doctors at public health facilities have seen an increasing number of persons suffering from both Chikungunya (ChikV) and Zika symptoms. Steele made an appeal for private health practitioners to report all cases to the Ministry of Health, so that the record can reflect the correct statistics.

He said that the main distinctions between the two ailments, which are transmitted through the Aedes egypti mosquito, are red eyes and rash for zika victims; “Persons infected with ChikV will experience fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash,” he said.

He believes that, like ChicV, there will be a period when the number of infected persons will increase, and then reduce. However, the aim at this time is to reduce on the number of persons who will be infected with Zika.

To ensure that the Ministry’s strategy makes a positive difference to reduce the number of persons affected, Steele said that the Anti-litter legislation will be strictly enforced. The legislation states that any person who throws down, drops, leaves, or otherwise deposits any litter in or on any public place other than in a receptacle placed for the purpose of collecting litter; or in or at an approved site, commits an offence.

A person who commits an offence in violation of the anti-litter legislation is liable, on service of a fixed penalty notice by a litter prevention warden in the case of a natural person, of EC$100, while in the case of a body corporate, the fixed penalty will be $500.

However, on summary conviction in the case of a natural person, the fine will be no less than $300, but not exceeding $1,500 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or both;

On summary conviction in the case of a body corporate, the fine is not less than $1,000, but not exceeding $4,500.

According to the legislation which received parliamentary approval in 2015, where a body corporate commits an offence, every director, manager, or secretary of the body corporate, and any person purporting to act in any such capacity, is liable to be convicted of the offence, unless the officer of the body corporate proves that the act or omission constituting the offence occurred without his or her knowledge.

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