ST THOMAS, Jamaica — Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says efforts to clean-up communities and destroy mosquito breeding sites should be ongoing all year round.
Ferguson was speaking during today’s clean-up activity in select communities in St Thomas.
He said the idea is to demonstrate the Government’s commitment while motivating citizens to take their responsibility seriously with respect to the reduction of the spread of vector-borne diseases, including chikungunya and Dengue.
Dr. Ferguson said this was the first of other clean-up activities for St Thomas and the focus was primarily on areas most affected by chikungunya and with a higher population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads the virus.
“The parish health department provided the guidance in terms of the areas we selected for today’s clean-up activity. We have to sustain these activities and ensure that we also have an ongoing public education programme because we have problems every year with Dengue which is also spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” he said.
He added that the broader message has to be for persons to destroy mosquito breeding sites especially around their homes.
“I want to point out that drains, gullies and canals are not the preferred breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti as this mosquito is mostly found in areas where people live and gather such as the home, school, business place and place of worship. This means that while the Government has a role to play, citizens have a greater responsibility if we are to successfully tackle the spread of chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases,” Ferguson said.
Persons are urged to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of old tyres and containers in which water can settle, punching holes in tins before disposing, and covering large drums, barrels and tanks holding water.
A number of health workers, community members and private and public sector stakeholders participated in today’s clean-up activity in St Thomas.