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Tufton leads mosquito control exercise in Hague, Trelawny

Saturday, September 08, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Christopher Tufton, joined Trelawny vector control workers on an operation in Hague yesterday to identify mosquito breeding sites and educate residents about the importance of proper vector control.

The exercise was part of the ministry's island-wide campaign to eliminate breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for transmitting diseases such as dengue and Zika.

Trelawny has had one suspected dengue fever-related death this year.

During the exercise, the team visited homes and spoke to the occupants, inspected water storage containers for larvae and provided treatment where necessary, and distributed information flyers.

Tufton noted that while Trelawny has seen a decline in the Aedes aegypti population due to less rainfall, he noted that containers such as drums and buckets being used to store water have provided breeding grounds for the mosquito.

As such, he said that citizens need to be vigilant at all times.

“Breeding sites are found in your backyards, tanks, used tyres, in the old cans that you put down, and we cannot overemphasize educating our public to say to them, remember it is your responsibility; take on that personal responsibility to ensure that in and around your surroundings are safe,” he implored.

The minister commended the work of the Telawny vector control aids. “It's not an easy job. You have to confront locked gates, bad dogs, unwelcoming citizens, the sun, the elements, and you still put up with that and carry out your jobs and we really appreciate it,” he said.

The vector control programme is being carried out by 10 full-time employees and an additional 36 persons, who have been engaged for an initial three months under the Housing Opportunity, Production, and Employment (HOPE) programme.

The minister explained that the duties of the vector control aides include sensitisation, inspecting water sources and other breeding grounds, determining the Aedes aegypti population, and treating areas.

For his part, Chief Public Health Inspector for Trelawny, Delroy Mowatt, told journalists that the parish's Aedes index, which is determined by the number of houses inspected divided by the number of mosquitoes found breeding, has lowered from 25 per cent to 9.5 per cent since vector control operations commenced on July 29.

“We would have seen the effort that would have been put into the exercise and the diligence shown by the team as they go out… every day. So householders should be in a position now to be very aware of what is needed,” Mowatt outlined.

Also participating in the exercise were Regional Director, Western Regional Health Authority, Errol Greene; and Parish Public Health Specialist for Vector Control in Trelawny, Devon Ledgister.

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