St. Lucia Virus Fight Aided by Strengthening of Data Management

14 Feb 2023
Meeting on arbovirus in LCA

Castries, St. Lucia, 13 February 2023 (PAHO) - Citizens of St. Lucia will benefit from improved health administration thanks to a mission hosted on-island last week.

Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) officials led the one-week health mission which focused on data management as it relates to viruses carried by insects (Arthropod-Borne Viruses or Arboviruses). In St. Lucia, the common anthropods/insects are ticks, flies and mosquitos. Data management discussions also concentrated on COVID-19 vaccine coverage statistics, to assist the country with its decision making.

PAHO partnered with consultants Open Solutions for the health project.

The mission comprised PAHO representatives, along with the team from Open Solutions for Health, Ministry of Health officials and the Department of Environmental Health officers.

Chief Executive Officer of Open Solutions for Health, Peter Ricketts, outlined the objectives of the mission.

“Our mission has two objectives. The first one is the gathering of the requirements and then the development of a module to support data management of the Arbovirus; and the second one is the integration of key indicators (in) the St. Lucia Health Information System - better known as SLUHIS. That data would go into a dashboard on the District Health Information Software (DHIS) which would aid in quick decision making on those key indicators.”

The consultant added that understanding where breeding sites of vector borne insects are located would “help with resource planning” and “response time”.

PAHO Advisor on Health Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control, Dr. Prabhjot Singh, affirmed PAHO’s commitment to working with local health officials to rid the island of vector borne insects and the viruses they spread.

“St. Lucia has had outbreaks of Chikungunya, Dengue fever and Zika over the years. While the current data collection systems have assisted in the fight against these viruses, updating is key and the assistance being provided will result in a strengthening of data collection processes, aiding health authorities as they monitor the presence of arboviruses or insects in St. Lucia.”

Dr. Singh remarked: “COVID-19 has taught us the power of information technology (IT) tools and how vital they can be during emergencies. This project follows up on Information Systems for Health (IS4H) maturity assessments conducted previously.  PAHO, along with the Ministry of Health, conducted these assessments and assisted with the required implementation following the assessments. PAHO has also provided vital IT infrastructure including hardware: hard disk and server; and software: virtual private network (VPN) licenses and firewall to complement and bolster capacity in the Ministry of Health.”