Providenciales, 05 Feb 2016 – The number of Zika cases continues to increases in the Caribbean and Latin America region and more countries are becoming affected, The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services is please to say that the Turks and Caicos Islands is currently Zika free.
The Premiere, Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services, the Hon., Dr. Rufus W Ewing advises that TCI Government in its commitment to ensure that the Turks and Caicos remains Zika Free, Cabinet yesterday approved emergency funds in the sum of $327,433.00 to procure additional resources, chemicals and step-up on manpower in the fight to ensure that TCI remain Zika Free.
The funding will be used to purchase mosquito nets for our vulnerable Populations such as pregnant women, the elderly. In addition, the Government also intend to bulk purchase mosquito repellents which would be distributed to the above mentioned vulnerable group’s households throughout the islands.
The Department of Environmental Health will also be purchasing additional fogging machines and several hand-held industrial fogging machines which would permit more effective fogging operations throughout the islands, particularly within communities and areas which are not easily accessible with vehicles.
Cabinet also granted approval for a reduction in the tariff for the purchasing of held fogging machines, as such the public and the commercial establishments on island are encouraged to import hand-held fogging machine, and individuals are also encouraged to purchase these items and as frequent as necessary engage in fogging of their premises.
However, the Government recognize that fogging alone will not be the solution. Part of the solution is to prevent the adult mosquito from finding suitable areas with settled water to lay their eggs. In an effort to address this, The Turks and Caicos Government in collaboration with the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) and other civic groups will be conducting a National clean-up Campaign. Communities and resident are encouraged to clean their back yard, place the trash in front of their property and arrangement would be made to remove the trash.
All persons, community groups, church groups, schools, adult’s young and old asre encourage to come out and be part of the Nationwide clean up exercise in an effort to ensure that TCIG remain Zika Free. This is a matter of National urgency and all persons are encouraged to take part and do their part in keeping TCIG Zika free. Speaking on the Zika threat was TCHTA’s Executive Director Stacy Cox who noted, “Last week we attended a webinar with CHTA, CTO and our Caribbean counterparts where information on the virus and preventative measures were disseminated. We will be in constant communication with CHTA and will share any pertinent information with our local stakeholders including health protocols in dealing with mosquito-borne viral diseases found in our region.”
Cox added, “One takeaway from the meeting was the importance of educating our residents about ways to control the mosquito population. TCHTA as the largest tourism and hospitality body in the nation will therefore be increasing our public awareness and training among our employees and will be taking proactive measures to combat Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.”
The Ministry further advises that protecting yourself from mosquito bites will help you to stay safe from contracting Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika and if travel is essential to areas experiencing these diseases, especially for pregnant women, remember to exercise extreme caution to avoid mosquito bites.
To Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites:
Apply insect repellents on exposed skin liberally
When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito net
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes inside and outside your home by:
Check around buildings for anything that could hold water, inspect your home and yard weekly
Turn containers over or cover them
Get rid of or cover old tires
Properly dispose of all garbage/refuse
Cover boats, children’s pools, water drums and rain barrels etc.
Clean rain gutters and make sure they are flowing properly
Check screens for holes
Empty standing water from containers such as flower pots or buckets