Responding to respiratory infections in Maldives
22nd March 2017- Maldives is experiencing an increase in respiratory infections, including cases of influenza.. Responding to the situation, WHO is supporting Ministry of Health in assessing risks, and recommending appropriate measures to prevent the spread of respiratory infections and influenza.
WHO is supporting the Ministry in assessing requirement and also providing medical supplies to test and treat people.
WHO has already provided 1000 courses of Tamiflu, the drug used for treating cases of influenza, and 200 more are being procured. WHO has also provided supplies to test flu cases. Other requirements like N95 masks, face shields and gowns for use by health workers, are also being procured.
With WHO support, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital laboratory is equipped and its laboratory staff trained to test and diagnose Influenza strain.
WHO has been guiding the Ministry of Health on clinical management and influenza vaccine protocols.
Infection control and prevention, early recognition and appropriate treatment of cases remain the key to minimize the impact and stop the spread of respiratory infection and influenza.
While the Ministry of Health is taking appropriate measures, community support is critical to prevent and curtail the spread of influenza.
People can protect themselves by washing hands frequently with soap and water, by covering their cough or sneeze and staying home if they have symptoms of influenza. People suffering from influenza should take paracetamol, plenty of fluids and rest.
An important preventive measure is the seasonal flu vaccination which is specially recommended for the at-risk population such as children over 6 months, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
To strengthen its support, WHO has deployed an influenza expert from the WHO South-East Asia Office in New Delhi, to Maldives.
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