MOH monitoring water quality
The Editor, Sir:
In response to your editorial of March 16 titled 'Preventing a public health crisis', the Ministry of Health would like to thank The Gleaner for raising the issue of the possibility of contaminated water being trucked to communities for domestic purposes. We do agree that this constitutes a serious public-health matter. The ministry takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that the Jamaican people have access to safe water.
In this particular instance, you would understand that the ministry could only comment on or engage with your reporter on the reported levels of faecal coliform in the samples if they were taken by persons trained to do so, using the prescribed procedures. To do otherwise would constitute a breach of proper procedure.
Confirming past incidents of this nature would be challenging. However, we do recognise that there may be some persons using untreated water for domestic consumption, and this would become a greater concern in any drought situation. In recognition of this, the Ministry of Health instructed public-health inspectors in the field to increase their monitoring of water being distributed for domestic use across all the health regions.
In addition to the monitoring mechanisms in place, we implore members of the public to inform us about any such incidents, and we will do the necessary follow-up, as we are acutely aware of the implications that these actions may have for public health. We cannot over-emphasise the need for persons to take individual responsibility and take the necessary precautions to ensure that they make their water safe by either boiling or adding drops of bleach.
The Ministry of Health would again like to commend The Gleaner for putting this issue in the public sphere and for continuing to work with us to empower Jamaicans about their health and well-being. We hope to continue this vibrant partnership in future.
I am, etc.,
Minister of Health
2-4 King Street