Thirty-five vector control aides deployed in Westmoreland
Through a partnership with the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, the Westmoreland Health Department has trained 35 residents as vector-control aides to carry out sensitisation tasks.
The persons have been deployed across six health districts: Darliston, Bethel Town, White House, Negril, Grange Hill and Savanna- la-Mar.
They will be in the field for three months ending in September, having been trained in effective communication and customer service and taught about the basic anatomy and physiology of a mosquito.
Parish Health and Promotions Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department Gerald Miller said the initiative is aimed at reducing the number of mosquito breeding sites across the parish and, ultimately, the number of cases of mosquito-borne diseases.
"These persons have been equipped with information to work in the communities and will do vector-control activities, including sensitising persons about how to do their source reduction, to check for breeding sites, as well as to treat, where necessary, the sources of mosquito larvae," he explained.
He also said the move is important to assist in reducing the reliance on fogging and have households take a proactive approach to preventing mosquito breeding.
'FOGGING IS NEVER THE PANACEA'
"Fogging is never the panacea. We want persons to use that as a last resort. We want them to check for breeding sites, so if they have drums on their premises, we want them to cover those drums [or] get rid of [them] because we don't want them to collect water and then facilitate the breeding of mosquitoes," Miller said.
In this regard, Miller is encouraging the residents of Westmoreland to facilitate the vector-control aides who have been deployed.
"We want the population to be aware that these individuals you see in the community, we want them to support them and not be abusive because they can also help in giving them the necessary guidance as it relates to how they can carry out their source reduction," he said.
Miller said all trained vector control aides have been issued a Ministry of Health identification card and trained in how to properly identify themselves to the residents.
WATER TREATMENT TIPS
Residents are being reminded that:
- All drinking water should be treated
- Water should be boiled or treated with household bleach before it is used for domestic purposes.
- Water should be allowed to boil for five minutes before it is removed from the heat, after which ot should be covered and left to cool before being used
- For persons who treat their water chemically, specific measurements should be adhered to. Then, the water should be left to sit for 30 minutes before it is consumed.
- For one quart of water, two drops of bleach should be added.
- For 20 litres (five US gallons), half a teaspoon of bleach.
- For 170 litres (45 US gallons), four and a half teaspoons of bleach.