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By Rozeena Taylor

Getting rid of Zika: Jamaican Minister of Health, Dr. Hon. Christopher Tufton, relayed some hopeful news in a St. Elizabeth Town Hall meeting last Thursday, July 21. With the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), Jamaica will be a part of a series of small international clinical trials to develop a Zika vaccine. If the trials are successful, the vaccine would be available in a year. In the meantime, Tufton suggests that citizens should do all they can to prevent the spread of the virus by eliminating its carrier, the mosquito.

Population surge in Turks and Caicos: According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the population of Turks and Caicos is set to observe an unprecedented increase. In a report released by the commission on Wednesday, July 20, the population was noted at a mere 7,413 in 1980 and may surge to 55,498 in 2027. More and more of the islands’ inhabitants will be from nearby countries, with natives, or natural citizens, consisting of approximately one quarter of inhabitants. The ECLAC and Turk and Caicos officials will use this information to predict trends in demographics that may affect crime, tourism, and the economy in the coming years.

Corruption in the DR: Dominican Liberation Party leader, Carlos Corta Lama has chosen to speak out about a distasteful trend among the higher ranking officials of the Dominican government. The general elections in May shed light on the reoccurring issue of criminal influence in the government of the DR From police officers to heads of state, many have been found guilty of having connections to, and colluding with, weapon and drug-trafficking organizations that operate on the island. Corta Lama suggests that more stringent measures be taken to quell the numerous incidents of vote-buying and bribery that sway political processes and cause citizens to lose faith in officials.

Medical breakthrough in Cuba: The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recently recognized Cuba for successfully eliminating cases of HIV and Syphilis passage in utero. Cuba offers free healthcare to residents and access is facilitated by the government initiative that have proven successful. Mothers that have contracted either Syphilis or HIV can easily access treatment early in their pregnancy at no cost and prevent the transmission of the diseases to their unborn children.

Great smile for St. Lucians: More than 60 dentists will travel to St. Lucia under the 1000 Smiles program in the upcoming week. The Sandals Foundation and Great Smiles Inc. are partnering together to provide free dental care to St. Lucians. One clinic will open from July 25–29 at the Marchand Combined School, and another two will open in Anse La Raye and Canaries (communities in St. Lucia) from August 1–5. This is not the first year that the program will offer its services to St. Lucians and it is already renowned in Jamaica where it has provided similar services for fourteen years.

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