Health ministry implores Saint Lucians to practice proper hygiene practices as drought-like conditions persist

Friday, February 26, 2010 – The ministry of health is stepping up its efforts to ensure Saint Lucia employs the best infection prevention practices, as the country continues to grapple with the effects of drought-like conditions.

Senior Medical Officer in the ministry of health, Dr. Merlene Frederick says, Saint Lucians must become more conscious if the country is to emerge from this water crisis healthy.

Dr. Frederick says apart from the obvious and general hygiene practices that were highly promoted during the H1N1 epidemic, such as washing hands often, and thoroughly, there are new considerations to be implemented in all sectors of the society.

“We want to make a special appeal to persons preparing food at home and in public places such as restaurants and snack bars, to ensure that clean water is used to prepare food—especially juices. All foods that are not cooked or boiled must be thoroughly washed. The ministry of health will continue to ensure that all proper infection control practices are maintained at all facilities.”

The Department of Environmental Health has also stepped up its surveillance of the island's water sources.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Wenn Gabriel says, his department will continue public awareness campaigns to broaden the citizens' understanding of the implications of limited water supply.

He also encourages Saint Lucians to adopt all appropriate measures for the conservation and treatment of stored water.

“Use water from the municipal supply—WASCO. In cases where this is not possible, members of the public—especially those extracting water from rivers or other surface sources including springs and ravines—must ensure that they have minimal contact with the water for fear of chistosomiosis, which could be spread through contact. We also advise that water should be boiled for at least 10 minutes before consumption.”

The ministry of health is “mandated to ensure all citizens are afforded the best conditions for optimal health and wellness,” the senior medical officer said.


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