'Spread of chik-V on the decline in Portmore'
Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writer
PORTMORE, St Catherine: ACTING MAYOR for the Portmore Municipality Leon Thomas has said the municipality's proactive approach in the area of public cleansing has significantly reduced the spread of the chikungunya virus in Portmore.
Thomas told The Gleaner that the municipality embarked on an ongoing drain cleaning and garbage-collection programme in July, targeting the eradication of mosquito breeding sites as one of its primary objectives.
"The municipality of Portmore, based on its natural breading sites for mosquitoes, would be considered a prime locality for the spread of the chikungunya virus, but I can boast that this is not so. We are experiencing the lowest index when compared to the other affected areas, according to the reports given to me by the St Catherine Health Department," Thomas stated.
He said some 147 truckloads of garbage have been collected since the operation began, scores of drains cleaned and hundreds of mosquito breeding sites fumigated. Thomas said this comprehensive effort by the municipality was conceived even before they knew about the first imported case of chikungunya. The acting mayor also said he met with principals and carried out fumigation of all the school compounds in Portmore, prior to the reopening of the institutions in September.
"So as to ensure that the municipality stays on top of the situation, we have broken down the area into four zones to give us an opportunity to deal with the various communities in a detailed manner," he said.
Thomas said Zone 2, which comprises Newland, Naggo Head, Southborough, Bridgeport, West-meade, Westmeade Willow, Westchester, sections of Independence City, Passage Fort, West Cumberland, and Cumber-land will be targeted this week. As such, he will be meeting with stakeholders and first responders in short order to formulate a strategy for the ongoing clean-up campaign in these communities.
He said the municipality, in its quest to be proactive, will also be embarking on a public education campaign to sensitise the communities in the various divisions about the Ebola virus. He said he will be alerting the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Health Department and other agencies to participate in this exercise which will begin next week.