KINGSTON, Feb. 17 (JIS): Three communities in St. Catherine will benefit from a Ministry of Health-led national clean-up day on Saturday (February 20).
The move comes as the country intensifies activities to cut down the mosquito population in light of the threat of the Zika virus.
Old Braeton and Reed’s Pen in Portmore, and Rivoli in Spanish Town, will be the focus of the clean-up activity, which will be conducted under the theme: ‘Operation Mosquito Search and Destroy’.
Speaking at the launch of the clean-up day at the St. Jago Park Health Centre in the parish on Wednesday (February 18), Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Winston De La Haye, underscored the importance of personal responsibility in preventing mosquito breeding.
“This isn’t an issue that the Ministry of Health alone can solve. It is the responsibility of each individual to identify sites where water settles and get rid of it. Remember that a drop of water is enough for the mosquito to breed in. We need to punch holes in cans and get rid of all of the bulk waste that is unnecessary and can potentially collect water,” he said.
He informed that similar activities will take place in other parishes, and highlighted the importance of communities undertaking clean-up exercises.
“This isn’t a one-day event. We are starting with areas in Spanish Town and Portmore and we are encouraging all Jamaica to come on board. We are expecting that after Saturday persons will be active in their communities and in their homes destroying breeding sites,” he said.
The team, which includes Ministry of Health personnel, vector control workers, stakeholders and partners, will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday at Portmore Pines Plaza from where persons will be deployed to the two Portmore communities.
The group will move into the Rivoli community at about 1:00 p.m.
Other partners in the clean-up effort include the Ministries of Education and Local Government and Community Development; and the national response team, which comprises the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Social Development Commission (SDC).
“It is a multi-sectoral affair,” Dr. De La Haye said. “No one Ministry is able to address the situation. Zika is
a preventable illness and we need to do everything we can to get the mosquitoes out of the way,” he pointed out.
Dr. De La Haye is inviting members of the public to join the effort, noting that special focus would be placed on the gathering of bulky waste for removal by the NSWMA.