(PRESS RELEASE) — The Department of Health and Wellness is continuing efforts to manage the increase in influenza cases on island, by sensitizing public and private healthcare workers.
Healthcare professionals around the island were granted the opportunity to strengthen their capacity on ways to effectively control the spread of influenza through a sensitization workshop.
Medical Officer for Health, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, said the Department of Health and Wellness is dedicated to ensuring the proper management of influenza.
“One component of the strategy is to ensure that healthcare workers both in the public and private sector, receive updated training on influenza and the new strains that are circulating. This is to ensure early diagnosis, especially of the more complicated cases of influenza, to ensure that healthcare workers at all levels are able to diagnose early and to treat effectively, and to refer more complicated cases,” Dr. George explained. “We are also encouraging them to ensure that all of their patients with chronic diseases or with risk factors receive the influenza vaccine that we have available free of charge at all of our wellness centers.”
Dr. Belmar-George said it is important that Saint Lucians take the necessary precautionary measures as to prevent the spread of influenza.
“We also continue to educate on sanitary measures such as regular hand washing and cleaning of surfaces, and if someone has the flu, we advise them to stay home and not go into public places in order to decrease the possibility of spread. We also ask persons to ensure that if they are coughing, they don’t cough out where other persons are present, but to cough into a tissue or into your elbow. And we are asking persons that if they are not getting better, that they visit their health provider.”
Dr George added that for persons with more severe forms of the flu, Tamiflu is available at all healthcare institutions.
The Department of Health and Wellness urges citizens to take advantage of the free flu vaccine available at all Wellness Centres.