The Ministry of Health has identified an Expert Group to look at recommendations to address the support that will be required for children born with birth defects associated with Zika. The Expert Group consists of a Neuro Psychologist, Paediatirc Psychologist, Child Psychiatrist, Paediatric Neurologist, Behavioral Paediatrician, Paediatrician and an Early Childhood Education Specialist. The group will seek to provide a plan to address the concerns and support that will be required to provide care for children who may be born with birth defects associated with the Zika Virus.
The group is expected to provide recommendations to the Ministry of Health by the end of September 2016. Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Tufton said “the Ministry of Health is trying to ensure that children and parents that may become affected by Zika, in terms of birth defects, receive as much psycho-social support as is necessary.”
Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with small heads, as well as Guillan Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder resulting in weakness of various muscle groups. The Ministry of Health has increased its public education campaign to sensitize the public on the need to destroy mosquito breeding sites as well as the importance of personal responsibility in reducing the risk of being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. As part of its current Phase Two Response to Zika, pregnant women are a main focus and have been encouraged to get regular antenatal checkups and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. All suspected Zika positive pregnant women have been referred to High Risk Antenatal Clinics island wide.