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Public Health Earns Kudos

Health Minister the Hon. Mark Scotland congratulates Public Health staff on their award. From left to right: Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar, Minister Scotland and Public Health Surveillance Officer Timothy McLaughlin.

The Public Health Department's efforts to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases in Cayman have received one of the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) highest accolades.

The 2009 Award for Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in the Caribbean was presented to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar at the 26th Annual Caribbean EPI Managers Meeting held in St. Kitts earlier this month (9-13 November).

This is the second time that Cayman has received the award. The department was also honoured in 1999.

Congratulating the public health team, Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland said, "It once again acknowledges our public health officials' rigorous efforts to protect the health of the population. They continue to work towards immunising every child."

He specifically commended the efforts of Public Health Surveillance Officer Timothy McLaughlin and EPI Manager Alice Jane Ebanks who spearhead Cayman's surveillance programmes for vaccine preventable diseases such as polio, measles and rubella.

The Islands' immunisation programme is ranked as one of the most successful in the Caribbean. On average, more than 90% of the population is immunised annually.

These figures have allowed public health officials to make significant strides in eradicating certain communicable diseases, Dr. Kumar explained. (See sidebar).

"However, our goal is to achieve the target of 95% immunisation" Dr. Kumar said, and therefore he is urging all parents to check their children's immunisation records.

Dr. Kumar concluded, "Parents must ensure that children are fully immunised. It will greatly support our efforts if they keep track of the schedule (as printed in each child's record) and make the necessary appointments through the Public Health Department or any of the district health centres."

For further information contact: Bina Mani