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Ministry of Health considers establishing mosquito control unit

Published:Monday | July 25, 2016 | 7:00 AMClaudia Gardner

WESTERN BUREAU:

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the establishment of a Mosquito Control Unit in his ministry is being contemplated in light of the continued global emergence of mosquito-borne diseases affecting Jamaica such as the Zika virus.

Tufton made his comments during the ministry's first 'Let's talk Health' Parish Town Hall Meeting at the Sandy Bank Primary School in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, last Thursday.

"In some countries like in Cayman, they have a department they call the Mosquito Control Unit, and I want to get your views on it. Should we actually establish such a unit where we develop a full-fledged focused attention to deal with mosquitos because it is sufficiently important and a huge carrier of diseases like ZIKV and chik-V and others?" Tufton said during his address.

"As Government, we may need to do that," he said. "In fact, I have asked the technocrats to develop a terms of reference to examine the requirements and to let us look in the months to come at if we need to create an entire unit just to focus on that entire problem caused by that particular vector, and we will make you more aware of that over time," the minister added.

Tufton said since ministry data show that most breeding sites are located within private dwellings, the Government was relying on behaviour change and personal and collective responsibility by citizens to curtail the problem.

"The biggest and most significant line of defence to fighting this virus starts with us as citizens. So if we take away nothing this evening from the discussion here, I would really want us to take that away," Tufton said.