Health ministry ramps up vector control programme

Health ministry ramps up vector control programme

Saturday, August 17, 2019

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THE Ministry of Health and Wellness has officially launched its Enhanced Vector Control Programme as it continues the fight against mosquito-borne illnesses.

The programme will engage 1,000 temporary workers who will join more than 200 permanent staff in undertaking vector control and public education activities in communities across the island.

Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, in his remarks at the launch at National Heroes' Park in Kingston on Thursday, said that the workers are charged to help citizens recognise and destroy mosquito breeding sites.

“You have been selected to drive that activity across Jamaica to provide an appropriate response to the Aedes aegypti mosquito and the breeding of that mosquito. So, this is a response at prevention; it is an attempt at educating the population, we have to be proactive,” he said.

The health minister noted that most mosquito-breeding sites are found in and around homes.

“The breeding sites are put there inadvertently by the householder who [then] becomes a victim of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. This is an army (vector workers) that is intended to help Jamaicans to understand their personal responsibility… of ensuring that you secure your environment. This is a message that has to go out to every Jamaican,” he said.

Dr Tufton noted that the ministry will be providing logistic support in terms of transportation and fogging equipment.

“We did an audit recently, and we are going to have to respond to that as we can't send you in the field without your tools. The tools of engagement are very important,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Tufton said that some of the temporary workers will be retained “because we are going to expand the programme. We want about 300 permanent workers, so we looking at that now. If you perform well, you will get permanency”.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for transmitting dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

The dengue virus is endemic in Jamaica. Symptoms of dengue typically begin three to 14 days after infection. These include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Symptoms usually last two to seven days.

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