The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on February 6 handed over a cash grant for US$40,000 to the Ministry of Health’s vector control/dengue outbreak control and prevention programme.
The money, which was handed over during a press briefing at the Ministry of Health, downtown Kingston, will be used to purchase 18 fogging machines and a drum of Malathion, one of the chemicals used in the fogging process to eliminate the adult mosquitoes.
In his remarks, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, expressed appreciation to the UNDP for the urgency in which the agency moved to assist with the dengue prevention and control programme after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
“This has been a fruitful partnership which has enabled us to provide well needed services to the people of Jamaica in an effort to secure their health. We know we cannot go it alone and so we thank you for your profound understanding of the situation and the importance of reducing vector borne illnesses among our population,” Dr. Ferguson said.
He added that the Ministry welcomes the partnership, which will result in better health outcomes for the people of Jamaica, especially amidst “this environment of declining budget”.
In an effort to improve the vector control programme, the Ministry of Health has so far purchased 28 fogging machines at a cost of $5.2 million. The total expected to be purchased are 48 machines. The budget for the 48 machines is $9.02 million, made possible through the National Health Fund (NHF).
For his part, UNDP Resident Representative, Arun Kashyap, said that while the new equipment will complement the efforts of the Ministry of Health at the national level, the epidemiology of mosquito-borne dengue suggests the need for an inclusive community approach that engages community leaders in sustainably managing potable water and ecological sanitation.
“Communities will then be vigilant in keeping their surroundings hygienic, including ensuring adequate safeguards is in place to get rid of stagnant water, work with all stakeholders in the identification and management of water collection points and report early symptoms of infections to the relevant authority,” Mr. Kashyap said.
He added that this should build community awareness and ownership of the national vision to eradicate incidences of dengue in Jamaica.
Last year the Ministry of Health recorded more than 5,000 clinically suspected cases of dengue fever with 11confirmed deaths.