ST. VINCENT: – St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) among the countries least affected by the outbreak of dengue fever across the region Minister of Health Dr. Douglas Slater has said.
Slater made the disclosure at Unity Labour Party (ULP) rally in Rose Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in response to comments by Curits Bowman, the New Democratic Party’s candidate for Marriaqua in the Dec. 13 general elections.
Bowman had said on Saturday that the ULP administration was covering up an outbreak of the disease in SVG.
“There is an outbreak of dengue fever in this country and I can tell you that from experience because I am recovering from dengue fever and the government of this country is hiding it and covering it up,” Bowman said at a rally in Sion Hill.
He said that the government was not fogging to control the mosquito population.
“Do you remember in the days of NDP you use to see this van going around with a whole heap ah smoke fogging the place ah mosquito? … When last do you see a van going around?
“This government [does] not have any business to do with your health. I am telling you, we need to control the breeding of mosquito in this country and [the] New Democratic Party will ensure that we reintroduce all these preventative measures to take care of the health of our nation,” Bowman said.
But Slater said that Bowman was aspiring to be minister of health and “has to learn to read and get information clearly”.
“… this is one minister of government that [doesn’t] hide information and the Ministry of Health has been giving information to all the departments and I want to continue to do so,” Slater said.
“There is an outbreak of dengue in the region and I want to tell you St. Vincent is one of the least affected,” he added.
He said SVG was among the least affected because of the “good distribution of water” in the country, which negate the need for citizens to collect water in their backyard.
“….this guys doesn’t even know that,” Slater said, adding that the country also has an excellent garbage collection service, even as he said the government wanted to improve the system.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with symptoms such as headache, fever, exhaustion, severe muscle and joint pain, swollen glands, and rash.
Slater further announced that two new ambulances purchased by the government some time ago arrived in the country on Tuesday
He further said that on Monday he and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves had a video conference with a team from overseas “who are negotiating with us to do some extension of health for the children of this country and the children who are overseas in the region”.
He said the International Hospital for Children, the Mustique Company, “and people overseas” are willing to join with the government and spend millions of dollars to improve the heath care of Vincentian children and the children for the region.
‘It is important because right now as I speak, … 27 children from overseas — Dominica, St. Kitts, Grenada … are here because the doctors from America who [are] giving their service over the last ten years decided that the best health care facility in the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) where they can set up their system is in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Slater said.
“So, when you hear them talking out there, we have things to show that they don’t know what they are talking about,” said Slater who is quitting electoral politics after two terms in office.