St Bess parish council, health dept unite to fight chik-V
Launtia Cuff, Gleaner Writer
BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth:WITH NO confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus in St Elizabeth, but with suspicions by some residents that the virus has reached the parish as they have been experiencing related symptoms, the St Elizabeth Parish Council has donated $500,000 to the fight against the aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the virus and dengue fever.
Mayor of Black River Everton Fisher presented the cheque to Dr Tanya Dawkins, medical officer of health for the parish.
"We are here at Jack Sprat to make a presentation to the local health department. As the chairman of the local health board, we believe that we must not react to these epidemics, we must always be proactive. Over the years, the St Elizabeth Parish Council has collaborated with the St Elizabeth Health Department, [and] now, at this critical time in our nation's history, central government does not have the money to respond to these disasters of any form. Therefore, we are pleased as a council to work hand in hand with the St Elizabeth Health Department," Fisher said at the handover ceremony in Treasure Beach, last Wednesday.
He added: "We have looked at means and ways that we can come to the assistance of the St Elizabeth local department, and we at the council have come up with half a million dollars to present to the health department. The actual budget [for the period] between now and December stands at $1.2 million. We have committed to that $1.2 million. This is just a start," the mayor said.
He added that representatives from Bermuda were also involved in eradication activities in the parish.
"We have with us the Bermudans and you know Black River has twinned with Bermuda [the city of Hamilton], and it is good to have people from the Ministry of Health in Bermuda starting their own eradication programme down here in Treasure Beach and surrounding areas. We are looking forward to working with all and sundry to see how best we can eradicate [the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes] in the shortest possible time. We are asking citizens of the parish to take precautionary measures to remove from around homes all the things that will harbour these mosquitoes," Fisher said..
Beverton Roye, chief public health inspector for the parish said the way forward would be health education, source reduction and fogging, where necessary. He said the only way to ensure that the situation was controlled was to have public support.
"Fogging is not routinely done, it's only done in situations where the vector aedes indices is of a high percentage, and we require a quick method to reduce the adult population. But controlling this thing is going to be dependent on the public's support. The public must understand that it is their responsibility to keep their surroundings clean and free from any object that is capable of containing water which would act as breeding sources for the aedes aegypti. It is important to note that this mosquito breeds in and around the house so we need to remove the old tyres, old cans; any areas where rainfall is limited, check your gutters that they are free from debris so that when it rains the water will run freely, and please remember that little drip tray behind your refrigerator, check that little container and make sure that we do not have any breeding in there," Roye said.