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Dengue nearing record numbers – WHO 



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer


July 31, 2023 – Dengue is on the rise and the region of the Americas is most affected according to the World Health Organization (WHO) with nearly THREE million suspected and confirmed cases this year.

In an update on July 19th, the WHO described the outbreaks as of ‘significant magnitude’ have been recorded regionally. The numbers seen in the first seven months already eclipse the entire year of 2022 which saw 2.8 million cases. Of the cases this year, 45 percent were lab confirmed.

The number is dangerously close to the highest year on record (2019), which saw 3.1 million cases.

Thankfully, the number of severe cases are extremely low with only 0.13 percent classified as severe dengue. The death rate is also low, recorded at 0.04 percent or 1,302 deaths. The worst affected areas remain in South America, specifically Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.

The WHO is warning however, that the regional risk of outbreak is high because of the high prevalence of the mosquitos (especially Aedes Aegypti) which are carriers.

The Turks and Caicos has already completed one round of mosquito fogging exercises this summer in an attempt to control the vectors that spread dengue fever throughout the population.

Dengue, also called break-bone fever, spreads from mosquitoes to people. The WHO says most people who get dengue won’t have symptoms. But for those that do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea and rash.

In order to lower your risk of dengue, you must avoid mosquito bites.

Effective ways include sleeping under mosquito nets, using mosquito repellents and preventing mosquito breeding by getting rid of garbage that can facilitate standing water collection and caring for drains properly so they don’t clog.

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Caribbean News

Health City Surgeon Provides Hope for Critically Ill Cardiac Patients



KINGSTON, Jamaica (August 10, 2023) – There is hope for patients suffering from critical cardiovascular issues in the Caribbean, reports one of the region’s leading cardiac specialists.

Addressing the 36th Caribbean Cardiac Society Conference last month in Kingston, Jamaica, Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Senior Consultant, Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery and Clinical Director at Health City Cayman Islands, highlighted the life-saving ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation process, a form of life support for patients, successfully and consecutively performed at the Caymanian facility.

“There is no reason for patients with reversible cardiac diseases (to) die because you can put them on ECMO and the technology is very good and our understanding (of it also) is very good,” Dr. Binoy told his peers, explaining that ECMO provides time for the body to rest and recover by doing the work of the heart and lungs.

Having saved countless lives with this technology at the Cayman Islands hospital, the respected surgeon cited a case of a child who is doing well following treatment with ECMO and transfer to the United States for a heart transplant: “Whether it is reversible pulmonary reasons or cardiac reasons, just put them on ECMO and the recovery is usually very good and we can save lives.”

In 2017, the hospital became the Caribbean’s first regional center to provide the advanced form of life support (ECMO). The hospital also installs artificial hearts or left ventricle assist devices (LVAD) for chronic or advanced heart failure patients for whom a transplant is unlikely to be readily available in the mainland United States. Health City anticipates that transplant services will be available in the Cayman Islands in the near future following the establishment of transplant laws and regulations.

The theme of the Kingston conference was “Serving and Saving the Hearts of our People Today, Tomorrow and Beyond!” and Dr. Binoy presented on “Enhancing Cardiac Surgery in the Region – Updates and Perspectives”.

The surgeon expressed his joy at seeing greater collaboration between cardiac surgeons and cardiologists throughout the region. “Now I see my cardiologists more often in our hybrid cath lab rather than outside,” said Dr. Binoy, who established the adult and pediatric cardiac programs at Health City Cayman Islands in 2014 and has overseen thousands of successful cardiac surgeries and procedures at the tertiary care hospital.

He revealed that there were no deaths or reinterventions from elective Coronary Bypass Surgery at Health City Cayman Islands and minimally invasive surgery has been successfully completed for most mitral valve defects. Additionally, aortic valve surgery has evolved over the past two decades from an open incision with a large scar to that of no incision and no scar.

Pulmonary thromboendarterectomy to treat chronic pulmonary thromboembolism is also another achievement at the Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited institution. This procedure has been more frequently performed since the COVID-19 pandemic where patients often present with acute pulmonary embolism which can later present as chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

In the specialized areas of pediatric and neonatal surgery, a variety of life-saving surgeries to correct defects in the heart, in collaboration with a pediatric interventional cardiologist, have been achieved at Health City Cayman Islands. Children from over 25 countries have been treated, including those families who have insufficient funds and are supported by various charities.

A broad spectrum of vascular surgery options with successful outcomes are also provided, including repair of major arteries in the chest and abdomen to treat aneurysms, and replacement of major arteries in the chest through minimally invasive or no-incision procedures.

Dr. Binoy concluded that Healthy City has “significantly contributed to the enhancement of the scope and landscape of cardiovascular surgery in the region”, and commended the Health City team for the excellent service that they have provided over the past nine years.



Photo Captions

Header: Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil addressing the cardiac conference in Jamaica.

Insert: Health City’s team at the conference included (from left): Sales and Marketing Specialist Ingrid Harris, Dr. Binoy and Rebekah Anne Brooks, Head of Marketing & Sales.


About Health City Cayman Islands

Health City Cayman Islands is a medically advanced tertiary hospital located near High Rock in the district of East End in Grand Cayman. The brainchild of internationally renowned heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty, it features a unique model of health care, built with a focus on the patient and rooted in innovative business models that allow the delivery of high-quality, affordable care. It is the largest hospital in the Caribbean to have earned the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval from Joint Commission International (JCI), the worldwide leader in accrediting the quality of health care. For more information visit

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Caribbean News

Kidney transplant surgeries to be offered in St.Kitts and Nevis



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer



#St.KittsandNevis, August 5, 2023 – Kidney transplant surgeries will soon be offered in St. Kitts and Nevis as announced by Prime Minister Terrance Drew.

This development is a big one for the country’s health system and so it will provide kidney transplant services to citizens who are unable to travel overseas to acquire said services.  This was emphasized by Drew during the announcement at the Freedom FM’s Issues program held on Wednesday July 26th, 2023.

“These people are dying sooner than they should because they don’t have access to transplants.  I cannot allow our people to die when we have an opportunity to save their lives,” he highlighted.

Additionally, despite the country’s efforts to enhance health services for kidney patients, he urged residents to make better choices and take better care of their bodies adopting healthier habits such as frequent exercise, having balanced diets, maintaining blood pressure  and sugar levels etc.

But for those who fail to do so and fall victim to kidney ailments, he expressed that the aim is to have a something in place to help them.

“We want to make sure that they have an option for renal transplant and we are going to launch the renal transplant program.”

The kidney transplant surgeries will be provided at the country’s principal healthcare facility, the Joseph N France General Hospital.

In continuation, Drew further spoke to a team which will at some point in the near future, visit St. Kitts and Nevis from Canada to provide specialized training to the Haemodialysis Unit’s staff, to up the use of the recently acquired dialysis machines, further strengthening the nation’s fight against kidney diseases.

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Caribbean News

CARPHA Receives Automated Instruments to Assist in Gene Surveillance



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, August 2, 2023 –  The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has received laboratory equipment to support genomic surveillance at its Medical Microbiology Laboratory for its  Member States.

The equipment was procured through the New Variant Assessment Platform, led by United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA).  This marks another milestone in CARPHA’s mission to strengthen its systems to better detect and respond to emerging diseases in the Caribbean region.

The items received are two liquid handling instruments namely, the Mosquito® HV, and the Dragonfly Discovery.

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA.  “Our overall collaboration with UKHSA has been very supportive to our work with our Member States. These devices have ensured further strengthening of CARPHA’s  gene sequencing capabilities, maintaining the cutting-edge array of laboratory services we provide to our Member States.”

“The acquisition of the instruments will serve to advance our laboratory productivity, shorten turnaround times, and reduce costs per sample.  Overall, the instruments will improve sample processing accuracy,” stated Dr. Michelle Hamilton, Head, Laboratory Services and Networks.

The Mosquito® HV is a highly accurate and precise multichannel pipetting system.  The Dragonfly Discovery enables innovative, low volume liquid dispensing that is compatible with a wide range of applications including molecular biology and genomics, and biochemical assays.

“Both devices will be used together to increase sequencing capacity by automating some of the preparation steps. These instruments will allow CARPHA to carry out multiple sample runs,  and switch between applications with minimal setup required,” explained Ms. SueMin Nathaniel, Manager of Laboratory Services at CARPHA.

The acquisition also included a supply of consumables. Laboratory staff at the CMML will receive training in the use of the instruments.

During the first half of 2023, CARPHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UKHSA.  The agreement builds on a long-term collaboration to improve regional health security across the Caribbean. The MoU includes commitments to define strategies for combatting  infectious disease threats, non-communicable diseases, strengthening outbreak response, building laboratory and workforce capacity, and improving healthy safer tourism. There is specific emphasis on genomic surveillance of high priority pathogens which emerged as a new service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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