Health Minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis says her ministry will do all it can to combat the spread of dengue. She said, however, that the ministry needed the support of the public. Her statement came shortly before Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Cumberbatch announced there was a dengue outbreak, during a news conference at the Ministry of Health's Park Street office, Port-of-Spain.
Cornelis-Baptiste said the Ministry's Insect Vector Control Unit had been increased by 60 people who will start work from next Tuesday.
She said a meeting would be held with private doctors to further brief them on the policies that were deemed acceptable. She said ministry officials, including heads of the various Regional Health Authorities have been brainstorming additional measures they could use to prevent the spread of the virus. "We've come up with the idea of giving out ganules (larvicidal) at various distribution points via the local government agencies to facilitate them being able to put these in their tanks," she said. She said health inspectors had been sent out to various areas to check for breeding sites but locked gates and loose dogs prevented them from doing so. She said the idea of the granule distribution came about as a result of this.
She urged citizens to open their homes when their area is being sprayed. "The fog is not dangerous, only to the mosquitoes," Baptiste- Cornelis said. She added that the problem of bed shortages at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope was addressed with the commissioning of 150 beds. She said an additional 22 beds would be commissioned soon to deal with the dengue situation.