Collaboration Needed to Curtail Vector-Borne Diseases – Knight


Director of Environmental Health in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Peter Knight, has cited the need for co-operative efforts by key stakeholders to effectively deal with challenges associated with vector-borne diseases.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) workshop at the Medallion Hall Hotel in Kingston on February 20, Mr. Knight said one of the challenges which the Ministry and, by extension, Jamaica faced, was determining how best to curtail the ingression of vector-borne diseases, not currently in Jamaica, from entering the island.
“There are some vector-borne diseases that we don’t have in the country. And so, we have to find ways and barriers of preventing the ingression of (these) diseases,” the Director said.
To this end, he said the Ministry had moved to address the issue by reviewing existing control measures and instituting new ones in and around the island’s ports of entry, among other activities.
“We have the challenge of dengue, which is endemic, (and) we had the scare of malaria, which we have brought under control. But we do not want other vector-borne diseases to find themselves into the country,” Mr. Knight stressed.
The Director said climate change was another challenge faced in the vector control effort. Studies, he explained, indicate that vectors are “changing their habitats and regeneration habits.”
“For example, (in the case of) the malaria transmitting mosquito..the Anopheles, what we are finding is that the mosquito is breeding in places that they were not breeding in (before). Studies also tell us that in the case of the dengue transmitting mosquito, the Aedes Aegypti, the life cycle is shortening and the mosquito is reproducing at a faster rate than we are used to. This is a major challenge for us at the Ministry, and it’s also a challenge to you as pest control operators,” Mr. Knight said.
In this regard, the Director stressed the need to “look at new ways of doing our vector control programme”.”You (pest control operators) have to work with us to ensure that the country remains vector-borne disease free as much as possible,” Mr. Knight urged.Over 60 registered pest control operators from Kingston, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Clarendon, and Manchester are attending the two-day workshop. Key topics being covered include: ‘Mosquito Control’; ‘Rodent Control’; ‘Bat Management’, ‘Fumigation’, and ‘Whitefly and Other Garden Pests’.

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