JIS News

Story Highlights

  • As the country prepares for the possible arrival of the Zika Virus, the Ministry of Health has implemented an Integrated Vector Management Control Programme to contain the breeding of the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which transmits the disease.
  • Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (June 10), Medical Entomologist in the Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, said that there are five strategies being employed under the programme.
  • These are: social mobilisation and community participation; inter-sectoral collaboration; capacity building; implementation of vector-control measures; and utilising legislative measures where necessary.

As the country prepares for the possible arrival of the Zika Virus, the Ministry of Health has implemented an Integrated Vector Management Control Programme to contain the breeding of the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which transmits the disease.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (June 10), Medical Entomologist in the Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, said that there are five strategies being employed under the programme.

These are: social mobilisation and community participation; inter-sectoral collaboration; capacity building; implementation of vector-control measures; and utilising legislative measures where necessary.

Mrs. Huntley-Jones said social mobilisation and community participation is the main strategy. “Given that the vector is domesticated, urban, usually found in and around places where persons dwell, play and do business, the first order of business has to be persons taking responsibility in controlling the vector, which is right there in the environment. We must mobilise the population into taking action,” she noted.

Inter-sectoral collaboration involves partnering with key stakeholders such as the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), the National Works Agency (NWA) and parish councils, in controlling the vector.

The Medical Entomologist informed that the Ministry is also strengthening the capacity of its staff and that of its partner agencies. “So, we are building capacity within the Ministry as well as at the community level and our agencies so that all persons have an understanding of the disease,” she said.

Turning to vector control measures, Mrs. Huntley-Jones told JIS News that fogging and larvicidal activity have intensified across the island focusing mainly in high-risk communities based on vector and population density, and environmental factors.

“The larvicidal activity to deal with the mosquito at its breeding sites is the main strategy,” she informed.

She said that while fogging is done “to knock down any adult mosquito on wings that may be infected, we must deal with the source of breeding. If we do not, then we would have rendered our fogging exercise ineffective because the mosquitoes would continue to reproduce.”

As it relates to legislative action Mrs. Huntley-Jones said this is to deal with violators of the programme.

She noted that the legal framework that supports the implementation of the vector control programme exists in the Public Health Act of 1985 and allows the Ministry to take certain actions, such as serving notice on persons, who are in breach of the provisions, which includes prosecution if necessary.