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Jamaica Ministry of Health launches surveillance manual, conducts surveillance workshop

Posted Nov 25 2009 12:00am


The Jamaica Ministry of Health, November 03, 2009, launched a surveillance manual as a guide to health care workers involved in the investigation and management of communicable diseases. Developed with the assistance of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the manual was designed to take care of the shortcomings in existing programmes for the monitoring of outbreaks of infectious diseases and to maximise the use of scarce human, material and financial resources in reporting and investigating cases.

Some of the shortcomings identified among Jamaica’s health care workers were the tardiness and lack of standards in reporting and the less than optimum level of vigour with which cases were routinely investigated.

The launch of the manual in Ocho Rios happened at the same time as the opening of a two-day surveillance workshop in Jamaica.  There, participants discussed issues surrounding the epidemiology and clinical management of vector-borne diseases in their country.  They and all of their colleagues are expected to become intimately familiar with the surveillance manual and to follow the guidelines therein.

PAHO Environmental Health Advisor, Dr. Homero Silva, in acknowledging the re-emergence of Dengue and Malaria, told those present at the launch how great this achievement was for Jamaica.  He said that it “represents a major milestone towards the ultimate goal of bringing all major health problems facing the Jamaican population to a level where they no longer constitute a threat to public health.”

But they were nevertheless admonished that although data collection and reporting should improve, it is even more critical to produce accurate and reliable information that is accessible to their superiors  who must guide the decision-making process along. (Source: Jamaica Information Service)

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