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JIS News

The Clarendon Parish Disaster Committee has put a comprehensive plan in place to address the incidence of leptospirosis in the parish, which has resulted in the deaths of four persons.
At an emergency meeting of the Committee held on Friday (Nov. 4) at the Parish Council chamber, members developed a five-pronged plan, which will involve the participation of a number of agencies in the parish.
Milton Brown, Mayor of May Pen and Chairman of the Disaster Committee, who spearheaded the meeting, noted that the objective “is to take the necessary measures to ensure that the conditions that encourage the growth and breeding of rats, which are the main carriers of this disease, that we correct these conditions in the shortest possible time.we view it rather critically.we can’t wait until it gets worse so we’re taking the necessary remedial measures now”, he told JIS News.
He informed that the programme to be implemented would focus on: public education, food storage and handling, assurance of water quality, farmer awareness, and clean up and garbage collection, including the removal of derelict vehicles.
“We thought that public education was a primary element of our efforts and we should concentrate significant effort on that. The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will be assisting us with getting the clean up done and we recognise that the farming area is an area where there seems to be significant happenings as it relates to the outbreak of the disease,” he stated.
He added that four of the affected persons were farmers, “so we are working with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and I have been mandated to speak with Senator Norman Grant to ask him through the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) to ensure that the farmers are aware of the situation”.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Department will work with the police and the NSWMA to set up a SWAT team to carry out checks of food establishments, to rid the parish of illegal ones, and discourage street side vending.
The public education campaign, which is already in earnest, involves an increase in the frequency of information put out by the Jamaica Information Service, the appointment of education spokespersons from the Ministry of Health, a press release from the Mayor’s office, the distribution of letters to churches and schools informing them of the situation, the involvement of the local cable company and the strategic placement of fliers.
The Social Development Commission is also assisting in the public education effort through its linkages with the communities, by promoting proper water storage methods.
In addition, RADA extension officers will hold emergency meetings with farmers, to apprise them of the dangers of the disease and its methods of transmission.
The Red Cross is to play an integral role in sourcing and distributing bleach and chemical cleaners, while the NSWMA has already beefed up its garbage collection service by putting an additional vehicle into the service. This is being done in collaboration with Metropolitan Parks and Markets (MPM), which has committed to increasing garbage collection in the short term. The NSWMA will also assist in cleaning illegal dumps while the National Works Agency (NWA) is to clear several sinkholes in north Clarendon.
As part of the clean-up effort, notices will be served on property owners for the removal of derelict vehicles, while the Public Health Department will ensure that garage and junkyard owners implement rat control measures. Mayor Brown said that a special initiative is to be organized to carry out a proper cleaning of the May Pen Market.