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Health ministry working to dispel myths about transmission of mosquito borne diseases

Published:Friday | August 21, 2015 | 8:00 AM
Ferguson

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson has said his ministry is working to dispel myths surrounding the transmission of the chikungunya virus (chik-V). A survey done in the aftermath of the outbreak showed that more than 50 per cent of respondents did not believe the virus was caused by mosquitoes.

He was speaking at Wednesday's town hall meeting held at Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, and hosted by the South East Regional Health Authority, in partnership with the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation.

"Even though governments must lead, citizens have an important role and must play their part in protecting their health. Chikungunya, zika virus and dengue are caused by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito and, until we understand that this is a domesticated mosquito, meaning that it breeds, lives and thrives among people, then we can really prepare better," said Ferguson.

Eradication efforts

He explained that the ministry has been undertaking initiatives towards reducing the mosquito population, the most recent being the distribution of a mesh covering for 45-55 gallon drums to parish councils.

"About four to five weeks ago, we invited the mayors in for a briefing session, as we introduced a drum cover which is a mesh, so that they can help to get the use of the covering into communities. The covers prevent the mosquito from entering the water being stored in the drums and, therefore, significantly reduce the possibility of the breeding of mosquitoes," the minister said.

He added that this partnership represents the best of joined-up government and ,"I am pleased that we are able to work together in this forum."

Wednesday's event was the first of a series of town hall meetings to be hosted by the South East Regional Health Authority. Others are being planned for St Catherine and St Thomas.

The meeting covered areas including vector-borne diseases (chik-V, ZIKV and dengue), water safety and the safe and proper handling of food.