JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Medical Entomologist in the Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, told JIS News that the objective is to influence behavior change within the population and propel persons to take action to combat the disease.    
  • She explained that tyre shop operators are being targeted given that tyres are the second largest breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti  mosquito, which transmits Zika.
  • “With all our efforts, if we do not get persons on board and taking the necessary actions to control breeding in and around their immediate environment then it is going to affect the overall success of our (vector control) programme...”

The Ministry of Health is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the development of a message guide for Zika communication.

Medical Entomologist in the Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, told JIS News that the objective is to influence behavior change within the population and propel persons to take action to combat the disease.

She pointed out that while citizens have information about Zika, and other mosquito-borne illnesses, such knowledge has not translated into action.

As such, she said, the communication guide will be targeted at specific groups in which behavior change is necessary. These include tyre shop and fleet owners/operators, and families affected by Congenital Zika syndrome and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

She explained that tyre shop operators are being targeted given that tyres are the second largest breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti  mosquito, which transmits Zika.

Mrs. Huntley-Jones said that having identified the target groups, messages have been developed and discussions held on how to reach them.

“In the past our messages have been very wide and general,” she pointed out.

A team of consultants from Johns Hopkins University in the United States was in the island for meetings with stakeholder groups to get feedback on a draft message guide.

The team, which visited Jamaica in April, met with a multi-sectoral group in a two-day workshop.

The consultants again visited the island on June 4 for follow-up discussions and are expected to depart on June 10.

 

Mrs. Huntley-Jones informed that over the period, the draft document was shared with a wider group of stakeholders within the Ministry of Health as well as external partners and it is expected that all inputs will be reflected in the final draft, which will be prepared when the team returns to Johns Hopkins.

She told JIS NEWS that the message guide will outline the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in order to enable effective communication going forward and achieve the desired outcomes relating to behavior change.

Mrs. Huntley-Jones said social communication and community mobilisation are critical to controlling mosquito breeding, which is key to stopping the spread of the Zika virus.

“With all our efforts, if we do not get persons on board and taking the necessary actions to control breeding in and around their immediate environment then it is going to affect the overall success of our (vector control) programme,” she noted.