THE PORTMORE Pines branch of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) has joined forces with the St Catherine Health Department to reduce the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases in the municipality of Portmore.
The Portmore Mosquito Control Programme, operated by the Health Department, recently received funding from the JN Member Advisory Council (MAC) of the JN Portmore Pines branch, to purchase protective gear and equipment for their 12-member vector control team.
A fogging machine, overalls, protective glasses, masks, boots, reflector vests and gloves were handed over to the St Catherine Health Department at the JN Portmore Pines branch last week.
"In excess of $300,000 has been allocated to the programme to reduce the nuisance and discomfort experienced by residents," said Troy Bygrave, manager of JNBS's Portmore Pines branch.
He added that "By first equipping the persons who undertake the fogging work, this MAC project is ensuring that the proper control services are provided as needed to the affected communities."
On hand to receive the items, Richard Baker, chief public health inspector with the St Catherine Health Department, said the donation was especially important, given the proliferation of mosquitoes during this current rainy season.
He asserted that "the new equipment has heightened the department's resolve to fight the vector problem, by replacing older machines that are becoming less effective", as well as to contain the upsurge in recent cases of dengue fever and other related illnesses in the parish.
More than 40 per cent of the St Catherine Health Department's monthly fogging operations is concentrated in Portmore.
Howard Lynch, parish manager, St Catherine Health Services, said the parish welcomed the support from Jamaica National. "The donation will greatly aid us in the mosquito-control programme, and we are seeing this as the start of a fruitful partnership."
The Portmore Pines branch manager explained that the JN Member Advisory Councils were established in 2004 to "engage and empower JN members and employees to become change agents through their active participation in worthy initiatives at the community level".
"JNBS was built on the principle of mutuality, and in line with the goal of mutual benefit, the MACs provide a platform for members to identify and be directly involved in selecting and approving development projects within their respective communities. The JNBS Foundation provides funding to the branch level for all MAC projects."