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JAMAICA: Doctors urged to be prudent when prescribing antibiotics

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#Jamaica, November 16, 2017 – Kingston – Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Sancia Bennett Templer, is calling on healthcare professionals to play their part in reducing antibiotic resistance by only prescribing and dispensing antibiotics when they are needed, and in accordance with current guidelines.

“The ripple effect of antibiotic resistance is enormous, as when medications do not work as they should, the treatment process takes longer, which results in longer hospital stay and increased hospital costs.   This can also result in the increased economic burden on families and the society, and may even lead to disability and death,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Bennett Templer was speaking at the launch of Antibiotic Awareness Week on Tuesday (November 14) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in St. Andrew.

Identified as one of the most significant threats to public health in recent history, antibiotic (antimicrobial) resistance is the ability of a microorganism, such as bacterium, virus and some parasites, to prevent antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials from working against it.   As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others, thereby increasing the prevalence of resistant bacteria in humans, animals, plants and the environment.

The Ministry of Health’s National Surveillance Unit received 196 reports of multidrug-resistant organism infections in 2016. The medical diagnoses related to these multidrug-resistant organisms include urinary tract infections, bronchopneumonia, burns to the body, surgical procedures and wound infections.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 400,000 people develop multidrug-resistant tuberculosis each year, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria.

Mrs. Bennett Templer is urging players in the agriculture sector to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to promote and apply good practices at all stages of production and processing of foods from animal and plant sources.

Members of the public are advised to follow the prescribed dosage of the medication by public health officials; refrain from sharing antibiotics with friends or family members, and to follow the advice of the medical officer to use other types of medication where an antibiotic is not needed for treatment.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is being observed from November 13 to 19 under the theme ‘Seek Advice from a qualified professional before taking antibiotics’.   It seeks to promote responsible use of antibiotics among medical practitioners and members of the public in order to combat antimicrobial resistance.

The week of activities includes an Agriculture Day on November 16 at the Juici Patties Veranda, Clarendon Park; and a breakfast event at the Marriot Hotel in New Kingston and a Medical Symposium at the UWI’s Faculty of Medical Science on November 17.

The symposium will be addressed by Dr. Arjun Srinivasan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who will present on the multidrug-resistant gonorrhoea disease.

Antibiotic Awareness Week is organised by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO); the University of the West Indies and the National Health Fund (NHF).

The launch included a forum featuring presentations by representatives from the UWI Microbiology Department and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries on the causes, spread and measures to prevent antibiotic resistance.

Release: JIS

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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