Healthcare professionals and leaders from both the private and public sectors will convene on January 31 at the Teaching and Learning Complex, Lecture Theatre A, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) for a medical symposium entitled ‘A Call to Arms against H1N1 (Swine Flu) and the Zika viruses.’ This symposium will be hosted as a joint effort between The UWI’s Faculty of Medical Science and The Ministry of Health. The one day symposium will run from 8.30 am to 1.30 pm. and is intended to facilitate discussion and provide health professionals with the facts needed to prepare them to manage the public health risks associated with the viruses.
Minister Terrance Deyalsingh, who is scheduled to bring remarks along with feature speaker Dr. Rakhee Palekar a medical epidemiologist on the influenza team of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), yesterday made the statement that it is impossible for us to prevent the viruses from entering the country "short of building a wall...and preventing the movement of people in and out of the country". The Zika virus in particular is gaining considerable attention after the widespread reports of birth deformity in Brazil as a result of mothers having the virus while pregnant.
There are generally no symptoms of the virus or cure leading for a call by President of the United States, Barack Obama, calling for more research into the virus in order to aid in the fight against Zika quickly. The virus is expected to spread to all parts of the Americas and the Caribbean eventually.
Minister Deyalsingh once again reinforced his call for citizens to do their part in terms of eliminating breeding conditions for mosquitoes on their property.