Montego Bay, November 19, 2019 – Jamaica – The Westmoreland Health Department has issued more than 200 warning notices to persons failing to comply with instructions to destroy mosquito breeding sites on their properties.
The notices were issued by vector-control workers subsequent to the activation of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ enhanced mosquito-control programme in August. The action is in keeping with the Department’s ramped-up efforts to curtail the spread of dengue fever.
Acting Vector Control Coordinator for Westmoreland, Sasharna Matalie, told JIS News that while many residents have been taking personal responsibility to curtail the prevalence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the dengue virus, some persons continue to ignore warnings to destroy existing and potential breeding sites on their premises.
“Currently, we have 90 temporary task workers to bolster our existing staff of eight vector-control workers; they check premises just to ensure that persons are complying. Where we find breeding sites, we have materials at hand to treat. Where we find breeding, we serve warning letters and notices to get these persons to comply,” she stated.
Individuals refusing to obey the notices are liable to be taken before the courts and fined. Meanwhile, Ms. Matalie advised that residents have been responding positively to the Department’s public education efforts. She explains that persons have been using alternative methods of covering storage containers to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
“We have found that persons come up with creative ways to get their drums covered and are no longer waiting on the Ministry to provide them with covers. Persons are going out and getting their own [covers] and wrapping up their drums. We are trying to get them to buy into the idea of not waiting on these things, but taking the initiative,” she said.
Additionally, Ms. Matalie said the Department continues to ramp up its vector-control activities and public education. She indicated that weekly fogging schedules are created and shared with various agencies as well as posted on the Ministry’s website.
Meanwhile, Ms. Matalie said the vector-control teams continue to place special focus on high-risk communities in the parish, noting that that they have been successful in reducing the Aedes aegypti index in those areas to less than 10 per cent. She further informed that work is ongoing in areas where the index is above this figure.
Ms. Matalie advised that the Ministry will be providing additional logistic support the parish, in terms of transportation and fogging equipment.
Contact: Nickieta Sterling
Photo Caption: Acting Vector Control Coordinator for Westmoreland, Sasharna Matalie.