Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 24 November 2023. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has noted the continued increase, over the past six months, in reports of suspected and confirmed cases of Dengue in the Caribbean region, especially in CARPHA Member States that have seen increased rainfall. The associated risks and ripple effects must not be underestimated as outbreaks of Dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and Chikungunya pose a significant threat to health, tourism, as well as social and economic development.
“Regional Health Security remains at the fore of CARPHA’s focus. In this regard, any public health threat, such as Dengue, that imperils the integrity of our regional response systems must be dealt with in a timely and effective manner and as such demands, that as the Caribbean community, we mobilize efforts to maximise efficiencies. Member States are encouraged to remain vigilant and flexible with their national work plans and available resources to maximise chances of successful responses. In 2023, four CARPHA Member States have reported Dengue outbreaks and trends are being monitored in others with subsets of all four Dengue serotypes circulating across the region,” stated Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at CARPHA
Dengue is known to cause outbreaks every three to five years. In the recent past, the seasonality of Dengue transmission in the Americas and the Caribbean has added to the record highs of total case numbers and complications. While 2019 was distinct for being the year with the highest number of reported Dengue cases in the Americas, it is very likely that 2023 will surpass that historic high. In 2023, up to epi-week 40, the Caribbean has noted a 15 percent increase in confirmed Dengue cases in CMS compared to a similar period in 2022.
Dr Horace Cox, Assistant Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, and Head Vector Borne Diseases at CARPHA stated that: “The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the virus, is present in all Caribbean territories. Vulnerable populations in small island developing states, like the Caribbean, and continental states with low lying coastal regions, need to be better prepared and resilient in addressing the prevention and control of Dengue and other arboviral diseases”.
“Around our homes and communities, we need to ensure our surroundings are clean and free of materials or containers that can accumulate water. We often overlook plant pot bases, vases, buckets and used vehicle tyres. These are typical breeding sites and should be checked frequently. Water storage drums and tanks must be properly covered and inspected periodically to ensure that there is no breeding. Roof gutters should also be cleaned. Wire-mesh/screens on doors and windows also help in reducing the entry of mosquitoes into homes,” stated Mr. Rajesh Ragoo, Senior Technical Officer for Vector-Borne Diseases at CARPHA.
The mosquitoes that spread Dengue are active during the day. Personal preventative measures to minimise mosquito bites are also extremely important. Vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, older adults, and women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, must be extra cautious. Long-sleeved clothing and repellents containing DEET, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus, should be used to protect exposed skin or clothing, and must be used in accordance with the instructions on the product label. Confirmed cases should rest under mosquito nets.
To counter the increase in mosquitoes and potential disease transmission, greater effort should be placed on mosquito control activities in communities, and these should be intensified. CARPHA urges its Member States to review their preparedness and response plans, as well as to continue surveillance, early diagnosis, and timely care of dengue and other arbovirus cases, to prevent severe cases and deaths associated with these diseases. CARPHA Member States (CMS) are encouraged to use available data, tools, and technologies to improve forecasting capacities, including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
CMS should also prioritise proper clinical management of suspected dengue cases by strengthening detection and management capacities at the primary health care level, thus preventing the progression of the disease to its severe forms.
CARPHA remains committed to supporting CMS in their vector control efforts, including capacity building in integrated vector control strategies. CMS must continue to strengthen prevention and control measures such as surveillance, diagnosis, as well as timely and adequate treatment of cases, while ensuring that health care services are prepared to facilitate access and proper management of patients with these diseases.
CARPHA has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness and promote effective prevention and control measures for Dengue, a recurring threat to public health in the Caribbean region. The campaign is a “whole of society” call to the public, healthcare practitioners and vector control officers, about their roles in this effort, and the critical need for proactive measures to reduce the spread of Dengue.
More information about Dengue and other mosquito borne diseases here:
Trinidad Makes Big Energy Commitment
#TrinidadandTobago#Energy, February 20th, 2024 – To diversify its energy mix as well as its economy, Trinidad and Tobago is putting focus on energy transition for development, working on a solar project which will potentially change energy production for the nation.
This was announced by Prime Minister Keith Rowley at the opening of the Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo 2024 in Guyana on February 19th.
Expressing that energy is the center of economic development, Rowley highlights why this development is significant. He says in order to transform the energy system to cater to the growing demand for energy while decreasing global emissions, a broad mix of energy is needed.
He further mentions that this is what’s required of producer economies like Trinidad and Tobago for development.
Irish Humanitarian Organization in Haiti – Address Hunger Crisis and More
#Haiti#Crisis#ConcernWorldwide, February 2oth, 2024 – Seeing that Haiti’s humanitarian crisis worsens day by day with too many Haitians, hundreds of thousands, edging the line to severe deprivation of food, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency Concern Worldwide is addressing major food insecurity.
The organization in a release said “ “We are providing food assistance, via electronic vouchers to help families purchase food from local vendors so that they can feed their families and prevent malnutrition in children as the situation worsens.”
They are also working to provide Haitians with clean water and sanitation as the waterborne disease Cholera continues to threaten lives, killing more than 1,150 people in 2023.
And, they provide referrals for cases of sexual and gender based violence in Port au Prince.
Concern is supported by funding from USAID, receiving €2.1 million (euros) to help over 30 thousand people in the hunger crisis as well as €1 million (euros) yearly from the Irish Government for its work in Haiti.
Why the Haitian President’s Wife – Martine Moïse – was charged with his 2021 Assassination
#Haiti, February 21, 2024 – Martine Moïse, the widow of Haiti’s assassinated President Jovenel Moïse, is being charged for involvement in his July 2021 murder, according to recent reports on Monday February 19th, 2024.
In his report, Haitian Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire reveals there were questionable actions related to Martine Moïse as well as statements that simply didn’t add up.
For instance, Voltaire states that she mentions hiding under the marital bed for safety during the attack on her husband, but authorities expressed that this claim is illogical, saying that a giant rat measuring “between 35 and 45 centimeters,” could not fit under the bed.
This is due to the fact that the gap between the bed and the floor was 14 to 18 inches, according to the indictment.
Considering these revelations, Voltaire states that her claims were “so tainted with contradictions that they leave something to be desired and discredit her.”
There are other suspicious actions by Mrs. Moïse, reported by the Judge, as revealed by Lyonel Valbrun, former Secretary General of the National Palace.
Voltiare’s report says Valbrun claimed there was pressure from the late President’s wife to make available to Claude Joseph, former Prime Minister, office space for the organization of a Council of Ministers. Additionally, Valbrun reported that Martine Moïse dedicated hours to remove objects from the Palace during the days leading up to her husband’s murder.
The accusations against Mrs. Moïse, reports say, are also based on information from Joseph Badio, former official in Haiti’s Justice Ministry, who is accused of being involved in planning the Haitian president’s 2021 assassination.
According to the indictment, linked in Voltaire’s 122 page report highlights Badio “outing” Mrs. Moïse for plotting with others, Joseph included, to kill her husband to gain power.
Joining Joseph and Moïse with charges is Léon Charles, ex-chief of Haiti’s National Police, carrying the worst of the charges including, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of weapons, conspiracy against the state’s internal security, and involvement in criminal associations.
Haitian-American pastor Christian Emmanuel Sanon, former DEA informant Joseph Vincent, presidential security chief Dimitri Hérard, former senator John Joël Joseph, and judge Windelle Coq, are also among the accused, some already sentenced and some handed over to the US to face Federal charges.
Media reports have exposed that after a two and a half year investigation, there are still unanswered questions. And, despite going into details about the assassination, it fails to reveal the motive behind it and how it was financed.
A separate case on Moise’s killing is being tried in Miami.
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