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Spend more to fight ZIKV – Holness

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Marlene Malahoo Forte

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is urging Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to redirect funds he says she has slated for election goodies to aid in the fight against the Zika virus (ZIKV).

According to Holness, the confirmation of the virus in the island is a clear and present danger to our public health, and the Government must do everything in its power to avoid a repeat of the pain and suffering Jamaicans had to endure as a result of the chik-V outbreak.

The opposition leader argued that public health is much more important than election campaigning.

In the meantime, opposition spokesperson on health, Marlene Malahoo Forte, yesterday expressed concern that the extent of the public-relations work in the media is not matched by actual work on the ground to control the vector.

Malahoo Forte charged that what the Government says and what it does are at variance and the people of Jamaica are at risk.

EXTENSIVE WORK DONE

However, yesterday the Ministry of Local Government reported that representatives of the island's 14 local authorities have indicated that extensive works have been undertaken at the community level in preparation for ZIKV.

These include drain and gully cleaning, bushing, training, mobilisation of health information officers, distribution of nets to cover water drums, and public education through town hall meetings, distribution of flyers, and town criers.

A national clean-up campaign is also reportedly scheduled to get under way this week.

The project is to be undertaken by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing through the Jamaica Emergency Employ-ment Programme and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

Each member of parliament and councillor is slated to receive money to help with the clean-up.