My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Ministry of Health's 1000 Health volunteers for Zika Virus as 1,200 babies in Brazil with microcephaly

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ministry of Health's 1000 Health volunteers for Zika Virus as 1,200 babies in Brazil with microcephaly

“There has been transmission of the Zika virus in nine countries in the Caribbean and Latin America region - Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela. So this is not a matter of if, but when Zika will be introduced into Jamaica, so preparation is key. The health team has to be prepared, and the population has to be prepared, in terms of what to expect and what they need to do to minimise impact”

Minister of Health Horace Dalley during a Workshop at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Thursday December 3rd 2015

The Zika Virus just got upgraded from a low grade version of the Chikungunya virus to a National Threat to babies.

This as the Minister of Health Horace Dalley during a Workshop at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on Thursday December 3rd 2015 has decided to have the Parish councils recruit some 1000 Youth Workers to spread the word on the Zika Virus as reported in the article “1,000 Youth Workers To Help With ZIK-V Preparedness”, published Saturday December 12, 2015, by Anastasia Cunningham, The Jamaica Gleaner.


These 1000 strong Health Worker volunteers will be basically decimating information on the Zika Virus as well as informing residents in all fourteen (14) parishes on how to stop the creating of breeding habitats for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the Zika Virus as well as how to prevent themselves from being bitten.

The training with an initial batch of three hundred (300) workers will begin on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston in a two (2) day training session. From there they'll be dispatched to the SERHA (South East Regional Health Authority) to spread the gospel of Zika Virus in St Catherine, St Thomas, and Kingston and St Andrew.

Like Jehovah's Witnesses, they go from door to door, spreading the word using pamphlets and flyers. If they spot any breeding sites for mosquitoes, they report them to the Heath Department which will have the breeding grounds destroyed. Eventually more Health Worker volunteers will be trained and deployed into other health regions and parishes.

So why is the Ministry of Health suddenly on a warpath again the Zika Virus?

Ministry of Health's 1000 Health Worker volunteers - Zika Virus now spreading to nine Countries en route to Jamaica

Apparently the Zap-a-‘quito that CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) has devised as described in my blog article entitled “CARPHA's 5 Cases of Zika Virus might be Jamaica - Why Zap-a-‘quito needed to educate people about Zika Virus” isn’t doing so well.

So a more hands on approach involving unemployed young Jamaicans is necessary to spread the word. The Ministry of Health is on a heightened Alert as it is now becoming obvious that the Zika Virus is spreading rapidly in the Caribbean and may eventually come to Jamaica.

According to PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and the WHO (World Health Organization), the Zika Virus is already in nine (9) countries in South America and the Caribbean as reported in the article “ZIKV Alert! - Health Ministry Issues Warning As Virus Spreads Through Americas”, published Friday December 4, 2015, by Anastasia Cunningham, The Jamaica Gleaner.

That's now been upgraded to ten (10) countries as noted in the article “Ministry of Health Heightens Alert for ZikV”, published December 11, 2015 By Ministry of Health, The Jamaica Information Service

These ten (10) countries are:

1.      Brazil
2.      Chile (Easter Island)
3.      Colombia
4.      El Salvador
5.      Guatemala
6.      Mexico
7.      Panama
8.      Paraguay
9.      Suriname
10.  Venezuela

The Zika Virus has also been associate with some three (3) deaths in Brazil, raising the possibility that it might have the same effect on the Jamaican population, despite being originally classed as a milder version of the Chikungunya Virus.

The symptoms of the Zika Virus manifest within three (3) to twelve (12) days after the first bite by an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Symptoms will be seen four (4) to seven (7) days after the initial infection with Chikungunya-like symptoms that last for up to four (4) weeks or longer:

1.      Conjunctivitis
2.      Fever
3.      Headache
4.      Joint and muscle pain
5.      Rash
6.      Swelling of the lower limbs
7.      Weakness

But that's not all as Jamaican women have much to fear from the Zika Virus.

Zika Virus and microcephaly link - Why microcephaly means Zika more serious than Chikungunya

The outbreak of the Zika Virus in Brazil has now revealed that the Zika Virus causes microcephaly, an abnormal growth in the heads of babies as noted in the article “Health Ministry cautions J'cans as Zika virus linked to birth defects”, published Tuesday, December 01, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.


This condition can potentially cause death in the unborn foetus as reported in my blog article entitled “739 Zika Virus Cases in Brazil and 2 adult deaths - How Zika Virus is causing birth defects in unborn Brazilian babies”.

Currently some 1,200 babies have shown signs of abnormal growth of the brain and stunting of the growth of the head due to the mother being infected with the Zika virus in the first three (3) month of pregnancy. This implies that the Zika Virus may not affect the unborn foetus once the developement of the foetus is advances beyond three months.

But these are early days in this latest discovery and it’s not yet known it has any other effects on the unborn child.

So expect the same thing to happen once the Zika Virus comes to Jamaica, with Jamaican women being told not to get pregnant as the Brazilian Health Authorities have bend doing as noted in the article “Brazil warns women not to get pregnant as Zika virus is linked to rare birth defect”, published Friday 4 December 2015 by Bruce Douglas, The Guardian

So my fellow Jamaicans, I suspect that those 1000 Health Worker volunteers would also do well to distribute condoms. This might seem to be a drastic measure but the revival of Sex education would prevent the microcephaly birth defect from becoming widespread in Jamaican babies.


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