JIS News

The Health Promotion and Education Unit at the Westmoreland Public Health Department is ramping up its dengue fever sensitisation thrust in the parish.

This, according to Health Promotion and Education Officer, Gerald Miller, who told JIS News that the Department will be increasing its efforts to educate citizens about preventing the virus.

“So, we are going to be using the settings-based approach by targeting schools, engaging the students, teachers and parents about the importance of destroying mosquito breeding sites, and distributing [educational] materials where possible,” Mr. Miller said.

He noted that the Health Promotion and Education team is endeavouring to be more proactive in sensitising the citizenry about the virus, as there has been a surge in the number of related deaths in the region.

“This is something that we have been doing from time to time, but we want to be proactive, given what is happening in the region. In Argentina [it is being reported] that there were several deaths from dengue, and we have [also] heard of cases in Grenada. So, we are just using that information to guide us to be more proactive, and that’s what the Unit tries to do,” he highlighted.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between January 1 and March 4, 2023, a total of 342,243 dengue cases, resulting in 86 deaths, were reported in the Region of the Americas.

Mr. Miller also noted that Westmoreland’s vector-control workers are out in the communities doing sensitisation activities.

He advised that they are now joined by the Health Promotion Unit, which is seeking to “compliment what they are doing by also engaging our stakeholders, [including] educational institutions”.

“So, we will target the education officers to share information with them as it relates to what the Principals can do to prevent a possible outbreak, and how they can do their source reduction,” Mr. Miller added.

The Westmoreland Public Health Department is reminding citizens to conduct search and destroy activities in and around their homes to prevent mosquito breeding.

Persons collecting rainwater for domestic use are encouraged to ensure the containers are covered with mesh and other materials that will allow water to come through and keep mosquitoes out.

Water storage containers should also be inspected for mosquito larvae at least once per week.

If larvae are found in the containers, a small amount of cooking oil should be poured on the water’s surface.

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