Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] officials are currently on island to undertake a mission on data collection for Arthropod-Borne Viruses.
These viruses are commonly transmitted through insects such as mosquitos, ticks and flies and have been known to lead to outbreaks of Dengue Fever and Chikungunya.
The mission is here for one week to assist in strengthening the islands data management system.
The Arthropod-borne Virus or Arbovirus, represent a group of viruses transmitted through blood feeding Arthropods or Insects.
The most common Arthropods to Saint Lucia are ticks, flies, and mosquitos.
Familiar Arboviruses to St. Lucia are Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika.
Saint Lucia is currently seeking to update its data collection system which would assist in monitoring the presence of the various arboviruses on island.
Representatives of PAHO are on island accompanied by Consultants, Open Solutions for Health, who are assisting with the process.
Peter Ricketts is the CEO for Open Solutions for Health: “Our mission has two objectives. The first one is the gathering of the requirements and then the development of a module to support data management of the Arbovirus. And the second one is the integration of key indicators between the St. Lucia Health Information System or better known as SLUHIS, and that data would go into a dashboard on DHIS which would aid in on quick decision making on those key indicators.”
Saint Lucia has endured outbreaks of Chikungunya, Dengue fever and Zika over the years.
And whilst the island’s Data Management System SLUHIS, has played a great roll in recovery, strengthening, and updating is key.
Ricketts added, “So take for example you had Chikungunya, the rise of Chikungunya or any of these vector born illnesses, you need to be able to have a quick understanding of where are those breeding sites and that brings in the geospatial aspect.
“So it’s not just having that data saying we have X amount of traps or we have X amount of breeding sites but understanding where those sites are geographically would help with resource planning with response times. When you have to do control measures such as fogging and so on, just understanding what you have in your arsenal for addressing those various threats.”
The three-member team from Open Solutions for Health met with officials of the Ministry of Health, Monday, before heading to the Department of Environmental Health.
They were also joined by the PAHO advisor on Health Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control.