Lindsay Lohan is one in a million. (Because Chikungunya.)

OMG, Lindsay Lohan got chikungunya!

A tweet linking to this photo on her Instagram account made the famed Hollywood actress an unlikely poster girl for the Caribbean epidemic last December.

The main thing here though, in case you missed it, is that a million people have chikungunya, many of them in the Caribbean. And the mosquito-borne disease is continuing to spread across the globe.

Eradicating mosquito-borne diseases is notoriously tricky, as this January 8 Time magazine article points out.

Time reports that a new study from scientists at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) could provide a strategy for squashing the disease.

In May 2014, Panama allowed the company Oxitec to release genetically modified sterile male mosquitos. When the mosquitos mate, offspring do not survive into adulthood and mosquito populations will die out.

The worry is that when the genetically modified mosquitos lower the populations of Aedes aegyptiAedes albopictusmosquito populations could grow because of the lack of competition.

If there’s one thing this study shows, it’s just how complicated the process of eliminating Chikungunya can be! We may be in for a whole lot more pain before this one is all over.

IDB funds open data for e-health in T&T

cc26odA US$110 million Inter-American Development Bank loan for Trinidad and Tobago will fund a health initiative to design and implement a nationwide electronic health information management system.

The system, called e-HIMS, will generate ‘real-time’, quality data for decision-making on clinical matters, patient management and continuity of care, and resource allocation.

At the core of e-HIMS is a standardised electronic health record, which will connect the Regional Health Authority and the Ministry of Health into a single network.

Read more from Caribbean News Now

Digicel bigwigs in closed talks with Cable and Wireless, Columbus execs in Port-of-Sain

cable-wireless-columbus_0Top executives of the region’s three major telecommunications players hammered out their differences in a five-hour meeting hosted by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in Port-of-Spain.
Telecom execs Denis O’Brien (Digicel), Phil Bentley (Cable and Wireless Communications) and Brendan Paddick (Columbus Communications) met to discuss the recently announced US$3 billion acquisition of Columbus Communications by Cable and Wireless.
“If this merger takes place, you will eliminate a very vibrant competitor in Columbus, and Cable and Wireless will basically own the market in T&T, Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada,” O’Brien said in a December 10 telephone interview, echoing the concerns of regional officials who fear that the proposed deal will result in the formation of a monopoly or near-monopoly in many Caribbaen markets for telephony, cable TV and broadband services.
“This is crazy stuff!” he said.

Continue reading Digicel bigwigs in closed talks with Cable and Wireless, Columbus execs in Port-of-Sain

How will regional regulators respond to CWC’s acquisition of Columbus?

Can telecommunications regulators from across the Caribbean see beyond their national interests and present a unified regional response to a common challenge? The recent announcement by Cable and Wireless (CWC) of its proposed US$3 billion acquisition of Columbus International could prompt them to try.

If approved, the deal will make CWC the Caribbean’s largest wholesale and retail broadband service provider. But the acquisition requires regulatory approval in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados. Continue reading How will regional regulators respond to CWC’s acquisition of Columbus?

Guardian partners with Caribbean GIS to track chikungunya in the Caribbean

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Everything about chikungunya is painful. Even the virus’ name comes from a Kimakonde word describing the contortions of one suffering severe joint ache. Fever, rash, cramps, headache, nausea and fatigue are just some of the symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness.

Nor is tracking the spread of the disease across the Caribbean any easier. English-language reports on the virus’ transmission at the sub-regional level are put out by public health authorities, including the Caribbean Regional Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

But keeping up with information from all of these sources can be time-consuming, especially if you just want to keep an eye on the spread of the disease in your own country, or get a sense of the broader regional picture.

“It’s easy to point a finger and criticise but I thought it would be better to actually demonstrate that something better could be done,” said Vijay Datadin, founder and lead consultant at Guyana-based Caribbean GIS. Continue reading Guardian partners with Caribbean GIS to track chikungunya in the Caribbean

Jamaica’s Team Node420 wins regional code sprint in Suriname

From left, Guyanese Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy presents the first-place prize cheque for 5,000 euros to Matthew Mc Naughton and Jamaican team Node420, at the award ceremony for the Agrihack Caribbean Talent competition in Paramaribo, Suriname, on October 9. Photo courtesy: The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)​.
From left, Guyanese Agriculture Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy presents the first-place prize cheque for 5,000 euros to Matthew Mc Naughton and Jamaican team Node420, at the award ceremony for the Agrihack Caribbean Talent competition in Paramaribo, Suriname, on October 9. Photo courtesy: The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)​.

A group of Jamaican developers won top regional honours in a regional hackathon, held as part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in Suriname.

Team Node420 beat seven other teams of young developers in the #agrihack, held in Paramaribo from October 5 to 9.

Their winning app is designed to give farmers real-time weather analysis, allowing more efficient agricultural planning. Continue reading Jamaica’s Team Node420 wins regional code sprint in Suriname

Caribbean voices joining global Internet debate

The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—the entity that controls key bits of the Internet—gathers in Los Angeles this week to tackle an array of hot issues, in particular, governance of the Internet.

“Governments want to exert control over the sweeping transnational power of the Internet that is affecting their policies, politics, social fabric and/or their economic conditions,” ICANN chief executive Fadi Chehade told the media, days before this week’s ICANN 51 meeting, which will continue through October 16.

The dynamic between ICANN’s policies and the national or international laws regulating human society is complex, and is overseen by a dedicated committee within ICANN. “ICANN receives input from governments through the Governmental Advisory Committee, or GAC,” explained Albert Daniels, ICANN’s stakeholder engagement manager for the Caribbean. Continue reading Caribbean voices joining global Internet debate

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