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Story Highlights

  • Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey, says the Ministry has committed an additional $100 million to fight the Zika virus (ZikV).
  • According to Minister Tufton, householders must ensure that drums used for storing water are tightly covered with plastic or mesh.
  • The Ministry has renewed calls for Jamaicans to delay pregnancy in light of the risks to unborn mothers infected with ZikV.

Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey, says the Ministry has committed an additional $100 million to fight the Zika virus (ZikV).

He made the announcement at a press conference at the Ministry in New Kingston on June 2.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the budget continues to change, based on the scope of work that the Ministry will need to undertake.

“We’re allocating the money to do some of the interventions over the next few weeks. The good thing is that we’re having significant support from charities such as Food for the Poor (FFP),” he said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said 1,000 workers will be employed to support the public health team, which will engage in islandwide community vector control and public education activities related to ZikV.

The Ministry will also work closely with the Local Government and Community Development Ministry, the Education Ministry, Members of Parliament and Government agencies and community-based groups to tackle the Zika virus.

Dr. Tufton noted that individual behavioural change is necessary to prevent the Aedes aegypti mosquito from spreading ZikV.

According to Minister Tufton, householders must ensure that drums used for storing water are tightly covered with plastic or mesh.

He noted that the FFP will provide 50,000 drum covers which will be distributed to high-risk communities.

“Ensure that your open drums that are used to collect water are treated once per week with three drops of cooking oil to form a film over the water to kill mosquito larvae,” he urged.

Discussions between the Ministry and the private sector are also to be held on how drum covers can be manufactured and made available through hardware stores.

The Ministry has renewed calls for Jamaicans to delay pregnancy in light of the risks to unborn mothers infected with ZikV.

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