JIS News

Regional Vector Control Officer for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Ryan Morris, says Community Health Aides (CHAs) have been playing a pivotal role in the health region’s vector-control efforts.

Some 1,300 CHAs were recruited in 2020 as part of a strategic undertaking by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to prepare the population to live with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Morris indicated that CHAs have been assisting vector-control workers with mosquito-eradication activities as the region strengthens its fight against mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.

“Community Health Aides have the responsibility for monitoring communities as their name suggests, so we have extended our services through them at this time, to increase our presence [as it relates to mosquito eradication],” he said.

“So don’t be surprised if your Community Health Aides assess environmental conditions and offer treatment. Health education is a part of their duty, and they will continue to do same, and they will continue to aid us in making our presence more felt across the region,” he noted.

Mr. Morris said vector-control teams continue to maintain an active presence in high-risk communities to manage mosquito breeding sites by conducting larvicidal and adulticidal activities in the form of fogging.

“We… tend to zoom in on those areas more and do more of a rapid surveillance just to ensure that we’re keeping abreast of areas that are not the focus at this time,” he pointed out.

Mr. Morris informed that the WRHA, which serves Trelawny, St. James, Westmoreland, and Hanover, continues its public education drive aimed at sensitising residents about the importance of eradicating mosquito infestation in their communities.

“We have ramped up our health education in the media. We continue to have ‘Dengue Thing’ in Westmoreland via Vybz FM, which is normally monitored by Health Promotion and Education Officer, Gerald Miller,” he informed.

Mr. Morris noted that personal responsibility remains the most effective approach in reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

“We are imploring the residents to play their part in the search-and-destroy [activities] and we want to remind them to do that at least once per week. Many persons are home at this time, so it should be a little bit easier for them to check their premises and ensure that [water storage containers] are properly covered,” he said.

“If there are tyres in and around the home, we want to ensure that they are properly stored, so that they don’t contribute to breeding or we use them for beautification of the premises by planting flowers in them,” he further advised.

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