Tue | Jan 15, 2019

Combating dengue fever - Tufton: Hanover not a problem parish

Published:Thursday | January 10, 2019 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton (left), accompanied by health officials from the parish of Hanover, touring the Black Gate district in eastern Hanover in search of mosquito-breeding sites yesterday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

With MORE than 20 suspected cases of dengue fever identified in Hanover in 2018 and no related deaths, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says the parish is not one of the worst affected.

He was in Hanover yesterday for consultations with public-health officials and the vector-control team as part of the national response to controlling the ongoing dengue outbreak and mosquito-breeding sites.

Speaking with The Gleaner, Tufton said he was satisfied with the work being done by the local health officials even as he advised them to maintain their vigilance.

"For the most part, Hanover seems to be managing the process. There are nine permanent staff, and they are to get 30 additional, so they will have enough persons committed to creating awareness, visiting homes, giving out brochures, to treat water that is infected with the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and all of that, to support the other activities that are national activities," said Tufton.

The health minister argued that whereas the health department was playing its part, the real effort to overcome the challenge of the dengue outbreak, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito in particular, must be collaborative, with citizens playing a very important role.

 

NO GETTING RID OFTHEM

 

"The Aedes aegypti mosquito is endemic to Jamaica, so you are not going to get rid of them, but we have to work hard to control the population. So the message is consistently to look at what you can do, take responsibility for your environment, and destroy breeding sites (of the mosquitoes)," he emphasised.

He said that his ministry had been looking at the increase in suspected dengue cases and preparing itself for the outbreak for several months now, arguing that a spike in numbers is expected every two to four years.

Tufton also noted that while his ministry did not have unlimited resources, it was not short of funding to implement programmes in the fight against dengue and the vector that causes it.