Thu | Oct 17, 2019

St James vector control programme receives boost

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:22 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton speaking at an emergency press conference at the Ministry of Health in Kingston in January to address news of an outbreak of dengue. The Ministry is now battling an outbreak in St James.
Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton speaking at an emergency press conference at the Ministry of Health in Kingston in January to address news of an outbreak of dengue. The Ministry is now battling an outbreak in St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

St James is to receive an additional 30 temporary vector-control workers to assist the 11 permanent workers and the 63 temporary workers already active in the St James Health Department’s fight to control the outbreak in the parish.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton made the announcement during a press conference held at the health department’s offices yesterday. The press conference was held prior to a tour of the Norwood and Flanker communities, which have been the most seriously affected by the mosquito-borne disease.

“We have engaged and deployed the temporary workers, and in this parish, we have 63 temporary workers to support the efforts of the 11 permanent staff at the health department. We have agreed that we will further increase the temporary staff by an additional 30 persons,” said Tufton.

“We want to get close to 100 temporary staff to work with the 11 permanent staff to create more teams to be deployed in the communities across the parish. We have also agreed to increase the number of vehicles to carry people and equipment and to engage a few private contractors for fogging,” he added.

START OF OUTBREAK

St James’ dengue problem emerged late last month when residents of Norwood complained of an outbreak of the disease in their community and accused the authorities of not doing enough to stop its spread.

To date, 23 people have been admitted to the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay with suspected cases of dengue fever. Over 4,000 cases have been reported island-wide since January.

The St James Health Department has stepped up its vector-control strategies in the fight against the disease; however, Tufton warned residents that they still have a personal responsibility to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes.

“The prevention of dengue starts with personal responsibility, and prevention starts with what we do in and around our homes. The vast majority of times, the breeding sites are located in and round our homes through the improper storage of solid waste, or through deliberate storage of potable water which is not properly covered,” said Tufton.