Wed | Nov 29, 2023

St Catherine Health Department prioritising early childhood facilities in dengue fight

Published:Friday | September 29, 2023 | 2:52 PM
Medical Officer of Health for St Catherine, Dr Francia Prosper Chen (left), addressing a recent monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation.- Contributed photo.

The St Catherine Health Department is paying special attention to early childhood facilities and the surrounding communities, to ensure that the children are given extra protection against the dengue outbreak.

Medical Officer of Health for the parish, Dr Francia Prosper Chen, said that children are particularly vulnerable to the illness, and they are being prioritised in the emergency response, as well as high-risk communities in the parish, which include farming areas.

In an interview with JIS News, Prosper Chen pointed out that areas for immediate attention are urban communities with large populations, garages, tyre shops, and the school communities.

“We are looking for breeding sites and destroying them. We have to look into our farming communities, because these areas store a lot of water, and water storage becomes critical to breeding,” she added.

Prosper Chen said that come next week, drum covers will be distributed across the parish.

She said weekends are earmarked for fogging at schools, and the health educators in the parish will shortly engage students at their schools on ways to keep themselves safe from mosquitoes.

Prosper Chen noted that she has sent a letter to the St Catherine Municipal Corporation asking for the parish's Dengue Committee to be revamped and take on issues like solid waste management and informal settlements, “where we tend to have some challenges with water storage and solid waste”.

She called for “individual responsibility” to manage the outbreak, suggesting that each morning persons can look around their homes and destroy things that contain water that are not of any use.

“If eggs are there, once water settles, you are going to have breeding. It is critical for householders to understand that they play a major role in controlling this outbreak,” Prosper Chen said.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness, with resources from the National Health Fund (NHF), has expanded the community strategies through the engagement of all stakeholders at the community level.

The engagement involves the provision of resources to undertake dengue mitigation strategies, which include support for the removal of bulky waste and drain-cleaning exercises across the country.

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