(PRESS RELEASE) — Health care 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 held recently.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sharon Belmar-George says the Department of Health and Wellness is dedicated to ensuring proper management of influenza when Saint Lucians visit both public and private health facilities for medical attention.
“One component of our strategy is to ensure all of our health care workers, both in the public and private sector, have been given some updated training on influenza and the new strains that are circulating. This, we are doing to ensure early diagnosis, especially the complicated cases of influenza to ensure that all of our levels of health care workers are able to diagnosis early and to treat effectively.
“Also, to know when to refer to our hospitals for our complicated cases. We are also encouraging them to ensure 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 centres.”
Dr. Belmar-George says it is important that Saint Lucians take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of influenza.
“We also continue to educate them on the 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 where there are other persons, to increase 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 you cough into your elbow if need be.
“And, we are asking persons that if they are noticing they are not getting well, they not getting better after having the flu, that they visit their health provider, be in the public sector or private sector; that they ensure they get care.
“For persons with more severe forms of the flu, we have Tamiflu available at our health care institutions to reduce the severity of the symptoms of the flu as well and to shorten the time period.”
The Department of Health and Wellness urges citizens to take advantage of the flu vaccine available at all wellness centres free of charge.