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UNICEF Provides 1,000 ITNs to Help Combat Malaria Outbreak in Jamaica

UNICEF has provided about 1,000 insecticide-treated nets (ITN’s) to the Jamaican Ministry of Health to help control the recent outbreak of malaria in the country, the// Caribbean Media Corporation reports.

UNICEF was scheduled to provide a total of 3,000 ITNs by the end of 2006, according to Marion Bullock-Ducasse, the ministry's director of emergency, disaster management and special services.

Bullock-Ducasse said people who have been diagnosed with malaria, as well as those who are suspected of having the disease, will be given priority when the health team begins distributing the ITNs. She added that the ministry is seeking the help of members of parliament, councilors and community leaders in distributing the ITNs in affected areas. In addition, 6,000 containers of insect repellents will be distributed to communities in affected areas, Bullock-Ducasse said.

The Jamaican Cabinet last month approved $450,000 to tackle an outbreak of malaria in the country's Kingston area and the neighboring parish of St. Catherine. Information Minister Donald Buchanan said Jamaica's Cabinet approved the funding to support an aggressive prevention and control program that aims to identify people with malaria, treat malaria cases promptly, and prevent complications and a further spread of the disease. The government also has increased insecticide spraying and launched a campaign to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed. According to the health ministry, the outbreak was imported and endemic malaria is not likely in Jamaica.

Health officials last week said almost 160 people have been diagnosed with the disease during the outbreak. No deaths have been reported, according to Bullock-Ducasse.

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation

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