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Small Country, Large Opportunities

Small Country, Large Opportunities

Dominica LaptopDominica is a small beautiful island in the Caribbean known better for its lush ecosystem than its infrastructure and technology developments. With a population of about 70000 people there are many challenges as well as unique opportunities for this developing island state. The mountainous topography of the island along with efforts to preserve its natural heritage have no doubt contributed to its slower pace of development than its neighbouring islands but this by no means should be used as an excuse for taking advantage of the opportunities a continuously more globalized world has provided. There are in fact many investment opportunities in Dominica. Since I am involved in information technology as a certified computer technician and run an internet based business I see opportunities to leverage the power of the internet to improve the country’s other industries.

The Nature Island

Dominica is a beautiful country renowned for it’s rainforests, rivers, waterfalls and hot springs. All these natural resources can be and are promoted on the internet. Tourism is one of the main industries on which the country is focussed and there are opportunities to create websites and mobile apps targeted directly at tourists and visitors to the island.

Small Population

The small population of Dominica is often cited as a hindrance to development. This small population can be a strategic advantage for  various projects. All communities are with driving distance of at most a few hours making accessibility to a target audience a easier than in larger countries The internet penetration of over 50% and mobile penetration of over 100% the population is internet savvy and accustomed to using mobile phones. This fact has been identified for ambitious projects such as the island-wide Bit Drop.

Potential in Technology Sector

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has long been promoted in schools and there are many qualified IT professionals on island and in the diaspora. Integrating this knowledge with other industries could prove very beneficial. The manufacturing and agriculture industry could benefit from using latest technology for both production and marketing activities.

There is no magic solution to developing Dominica or other economies like it. The internet and technology however help even the playing field since the main requirement is knowledge and internet access. Hopefully more investment in this sector will see more jobs and opportunities opening up for such small economies.

Related Links

Discover Dominica Authority

Invest Dominica Authority

Internet World Stats

 

Chikungunya Resources

Chikungunya Resources

Chikungunya MosquitoThere has been a lot of talk  about the chikungunya virus which has recently been plaguing many Caribbean countries including Dominica. It is very unlikely that you can fall sick without someone asking if you are suffering from chikungunya nowadays. The disease, which is transmitted by the infamous black and white  aedes aegypti  mosquito already associated with dengue, is now an epidemic in the Caribbean region. Here are a few resources to help clear up confusion about what the disease is, how it is transmitted,the symptoms of the disease and how infection  it can be prevented or contained.

What is Chikungunya?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains what chikungunya is.

Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. Symptoms of chikungunya include fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, rash, and muscle or joint pain.  Symptoms usually last for a few days to a few weeks, but some people may feel tired for several weeks.

Symptoms of Chikungunya

The World Health Organization explains the symptoms of chikunguya.

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.

Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognized, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs.

Preventing Infection

To protect yourself from chikungunya you should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially the aedes aegypti mosquito. This may be easier said than done but the same steps taken to prevent the breeding and spread of mosquitoes are necessary to control the spread of the chikungunya virus. Ensuring that there is no stagnant water in or around your environs which may be breeding grounds for mosquitoes is a first step. Using mosquito repellent, mosquito nets covering your body are all ways of preventing infection.

Diagnosis

The World Health Organization explains that blood tests can be used to determine if someone showing symptoms of chikungunya actually have the disease.

Several methods can be used for diagnosis. Serological tests, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), may confirm the presence of IgM and IgG anti-chikungunya antibodies. IgM antibody levels are highest three to five weeks after the onset of illness and persist for about two months. Samples collected during the first week after the onset of symptoms should be tested by both serological and virological methods (RT-PCR).

The virus may be isolated from the blood during the first few days of infection. Various reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) methods are available but are of variable sensitivity. Some are suited to clinical diagnosis. RT–PCR products from clinical samples may also be used for genotyping of the virus, allowing comparisons with virus samples from various geographical sources.

Treatment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that there is no cure for chikungunya. You are basically limited to treating symptoms while the disease goes its course.

There is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent chikungunya. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.