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Duncan-Price kickstarts ZIK V cleanup in the east

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2016 | 1:00 AMChristopher Serju
Imani Duncan-Price (left) and her team, including Petrena Hewitt (stooping) and Patricia Morgan, councillor for the Dallas Division, in a clean-up operation at Wickie Wackie, Bull Bay, St Andrew, on Saturday.

Imani Duncan-Price was on the ground in the community of Wickie Wackie on Saturday helping with garbage clean-up, as well as a door-to-door sensitisation programme aimed at getting residents in the East Rural St Andrew constituency up to speed about the threat from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, vector for the dreaded Zika virus (ZIKV).

"It's not an easy task," Duncan-Price, who will represent the People's National Party (PNP) in the next general election, told The Gleaner. She explained that in addition to removing items in which rainwater could collect and serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes, her team was also engaged in a public-awareness programme.

"It's one-on-one," she disclosed, alluding to the efforts of people such as Patricia Morgan, councillor for the Dallas division, who was going door to door telling people about the need to clean up their area and distributing brochures with information about the dangers of ZIKV and the breeding habits of the Aedes aegypti.

Among those involved in the cleanup was 11-year-old Chellsie Williams, who told The Gleaner, "I want to see the place clean", and who clearly understood the relationship between garbage accumulation and insects.

"It can cause fly to come around," she shared. And while not quite understanding the intricacies of ZIKV infestation, she was clear on one thing. "It makes you weak," the preteen disclosed.

Meanwhile, a check by the Gleaner team found that while some adults were well aware of the serious health threat from the mosquito-borne disease, others such as 19-year-old Okesha were blissfully ignorant.

She admitted to knowing nothing about the disease or the fact she was among the most vulnerable groups - women of childbearing age. The young woman admitted that she had not heard anything via radio or television or read anything in the newspaper to alert her to the threat.

Meanwhile, Talbert White, president of the Wickie Wackie Citizens Association/ Neighbour-hood Watch, was out with a team leading the clean-up charge.

"We are trying to prevent our community from being affected by cleaning the drains, picking up bottles and whatever else can hold water and in which mosquitoes can breed," he said, pointing out that the timing might have been a little off.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com