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More Influenza A (H1N1 Virus) treatment arrives in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – In an official handing over ceremony on Tuesday (June 2), Dr. Ernest Pate, Pan-American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) representative in Jamaica donated over 36 boxes of Oseltamivir (Tami Flu) to the Ministry of Health.

This is the equivalent of 35,000 treatment courses, for up to 10 days, for Influenza A (H1N1) and was valued at over $1 million.

The boxes were received by Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, at the Ministry’s head office, downtown Kingston. The medication is used to treat persons who present with Influenza A (H1N1).

Mr. Spencer expressed his gratitude to PAHO and explained that the medication will be sent to the Health Corporation Limited, which stores and distributes pharmaceuticals, and will be made available by request to institutions as needed.

Dr. Pate explained that the medication that is now available in Jamaica would cover more than three times the number of cases the WHO estimates would require treatment if the need arises.

He added that PAHO is pleased to be in partnership with the Ministry of Health to safeguard the health security of the nation, and congratulated the Ministry’s timely response to the two recently confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus.

Minister of Health, Rudyard Spencer (left), examines a box of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) Influenza A antiviral medicine, which was presented to the Government by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) representative to Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Bermuda, Dr. Ernest Pate (second left), on June 2, at the Ministry’s Office on King Street in downtown Kingston. Also present at the handing-over ceremony were (from right): Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Grace Allen-Young and Director of Health Promotion and Protection, Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller.

He added that since the virus was first identified in Mexico, the Ministry has been working tirelessly, and as a result, it was no surprise that the team was prepared to respond to the threat of the virus. He also pointed out that Jamaica was the first country in the Caribbean to develop national response plans and test them.

Tamiflu is one of the most effective antiviral medicines being used to treat Influenza A (H1N1).

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