Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Christ Church South, John Boyce, during his press briefing yesterday.

Minister addresses South Coast health concerns

There has not been an increase in the number of suspected cases of gastroenteritis on the south coast of the island.

The assurance has come from Minister of Health, John Boyce, who said that the figure remains at 35. He was speaking at a press conference at his Christ Church South constituency office yesterday evening, during which he disclosed that they continue to monitor the situation, as investigations continue to determine what virus they are dealing with and if there is an association with the sewage spillage.

His comments came as he added that the potable water supply on that part of the island and the nearshore water remain safe.

“The Epidemiological Department of the Ministry of Health, those who investigate and track disease in Barbados, do so on a regular, monitored basis. Every two weeks there is a report and a charting on how are diseases behaving in Barbados – what is the incidence of gastroenteritis, the common flu, the cold, Zika and that is why we can say to the public of Barbados whether is an increase, whether there is a decrease or whether there is none, no movement at all in terms of these diseases. It is not guessing, it is by way of investigation and measurement, that is how we survive and that is how we can assure the public of the continued efficiencies in that area,” he said.

Speaking about the efforts of the Ministry of Health regarding the sewage situation, Minister Boyce indicated that they have increased the presence of Environmental Health Officers on the ground, to help ensure that residents and businesses, especially restaurants, are carrying out “certain basic important hygiene actions” to make sure there is no spread of disease.

“As simple as it may seem, hand washing and keeping surfaces clean in the preparation of food are simple measures which we have encouraged so as to mitigate this situation. I dare say, from all the reports I have received, they have been working very well and the operators of business places have been extremely satisfied to welcome the officers from the Ministry of Health, the Environmental Health Officers, to help to train staff and to help to make sure that the situation is under control,” he said.

Minister Boyce said his ministry started a further training programme for members of the business community preparing and serving food last week.

He said the aim is to ensure that the food served is absolutely safe.

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