Trinidad and Tobago – Ministry of Health responds to reports of Malaria

The Ministry of Health (MoH) acknowledges the recent media reports regarding the current case of Malaria at the San Fernando General Hospital. The MoH assures the public that, through the Insect Vector Control Division (IVCD), the Ministry has enhanced its surveillance and vector control activities in order to optimally manage this mosquito borne disease. The Inter-ministerial Committee on Malaria, established in 2018, has presented to Cabinet a National Malaria Action Plan. The activities undertaken by the agencies of the MoH are in alignment with this plan and include:   Surveillance activities –

  • Home visits by Public Health Inspectors and other health care professionals to continue the ongoing investigation of this current case.
  • Testing at-risk individuals using a blood smearing technique. This technique is the WHO recommended approach for testing suspected malaria cases.
  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Mapping of both human cases and the mosquito (Anopheles) habitats.

Insect vector control activities-

  • Indoor Residual spraying, which will be conducted in the affected areas. This is the mainstay of Malaria vector control.
  • Ultra low volume spraying (truck mounted spraying), which will take place from the evening of Monday 24th December, 2018.
  • Mosquito surveillance for the Anopheles mosquito (Malaria is spread by the Anopheles mosquito).

This ongoing programme of the IVCD has been strengthened in response to regional increases in the prevalence of Malaria and the increased migration of persons from Malaria endemic regions.  

Personal Protection   Members of the public are asked to note that the Anopheles mosquito, which spreads Malaria, bites predominately at night between 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.   (The Aedes aegypti mosquito usually bites in the daytime (6:00 am to 6:00 pm). This mosquito spreads Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika). The public is reminded of the following personal protective measures for mosquito bite avoidance:

  • Use of mosquito repellents.
  • Use bed nets
  • Screen doors and windows.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Keep surroundings clean.

The MoH also continues to maintain strong partnerships with international and regional agencies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to ensure that our insect vector borne disease control, remains consistent with international best practice.  

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