‘Bye, bye measles’

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) celebrate the elimination of measles, the first region in the world to accomplish this. (Photo via WHO/PAHO)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) celebrate the elimination of measles, the first region in the world to accomplish this. (Photo via WHO/PAHO)
“It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal. It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century.” – PAHO Director, Carissa Etienne

The region of the Americas is the first in the world to have eliminated measles, a viral disease that can cause severe health problems, the United Nations health agency has declared.

“This is an historic day for our region and indeed the world,” said Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organisation of the UN World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) yesterday, noting that the achievement culminates a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella throughout the Americas.

“It is proof of the remarkable success that can be achieved when countries work together in solidarity towards a common goal. It is the result of a commitment made more than two decades ago, in 1994, when the countries of the Americas pledged to end measles circulation by the turn of the 21st century,” she added.

The announcement was made during the 55th Directing Council of PAHO/WHO, which is currently under way and is being attended by ministers of health from throughout the Americas.

Measles is the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the regional eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015.

Before mass vaccination was initiated in 1980, measles caused nearly 2.6 million annual deaths worldwide. In the Americas, 101,800 deaths were attributable to measles between 1971 and 1979. A cost-effectiveness study on measles elimination in Latin America and the Caribbean has estimated that with vaccination, 3.2 million measles cases and 16,000 deaths between 2000 and 2020 will have been prevented in the region, WHO said.

Read more at: United Nations News Centre

Wet, deadly Matthew

ts_matthew_svg_damage
Landslide damage in St. Vincent and the Grenadines

 

Tropical storm Matthew left one dead and caused widespread flooding and landslides as it slowly made its way across the Eastern Caribbean, Wednesday evening.

Officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have confirmed that a fourth form secondary school student was crushed by a boulder during Matthew’s passage.  Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia also reported flooding from the hours of rainfall. There were reports of some damage to property from gusty winds and fallen trees, and several communities experienced cuts in their electricity and water services.tropical-storm-matthew_29_sept

Meanwhile, as Matthew makes its way across the Caribbean sea, the Jamaica Met Office has issued a severe weather alert. Forecast models expect the storm to continue on its current westward path and then turn towards the north bringing it closer to the Jamaica area on Sunday and Monday.

CDEMA
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is a regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Follow CDEMA at – http://www.cdema.org/

It’s now Tropical Storm Matthew…with warnings in effect

tropical_storm_matthew_28_sept

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for St. Lucia, Dominica, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Tropical storm Matthew became the 13th named storm for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season after the 11:00 am check by reconnaissance aircraft found that the weather system affecting the Windward Islands had acquired a closed circulation.  Met Officials say Matthew is centered  about 35 miles (55 km) southeast of St. Lucia. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening during the next couple of days is forecast, and Matthew could become a hurricane by Friday.

Met Officials also say Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread over the southern Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands within the next few hours and continue into this evening. Interests in Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and elsewhere in the Lesser Antilles should also monitor the progress of Matthew.

Dominica, St. Lucia bracing for storm force winds

tropical-depresession_sept_28

 

Residents of Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique and Guadeloupe were this morning advised to remain on the alert for tropical storm-force winds and heavy rains associated with the passage of a weather system through the region.

 The 8:00 a.m. weather report from the US National Hurricane Centre did not declare the system a tropical storm as anticipated, but the Centre said a reconnaissance aircraft measured winds of 40 to 45 miles per hour and found that the circulation had become better defined.

 “Regardless of whether or not the system becomes a tropical storm before it moves through the Lesser Antilles, tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rains will spread across Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and St. Lucia today,” the Centre said.

 The system is moving westward to west-northwestward at around 15 mph, and is expected to pass over the Lesser Antilles later today, and move over the southeastern Caribbean Sea tonight and Thursday.

Check CDEMA’s website for National Actions associated with the passage of this weather system.

CDEMA leads coordination of regional preparedness for pending tropical weather system

cdema_25_logoAs a number of the Participating States of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) brace for the pending impact of a tropical weather system, the Agency has once again taken the lead to coordinate the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). To this end, CDEMA in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) convened a pre-strike meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group (ECDPG) on Tuesday September 27, 2016, to plan for possible scenarios in preparation for the impact. Partner agencies who are members of this group including regional and international donors and development partners are monitoring the system. (more…)