JIS News

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  • Executive Director of the United States based National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Dr. David Dyjack, says public health officials must form relationships with local communities, if they are to be successful in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Giving the keynote address at the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) 69th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition at the Grand Palladium Resort and Spa, in Hanover, on October 29, Dr. Dyjack said it is important for health officials to resonate with the people they serve and not to wait for a crisis to happen before they go into communities.
  • Dr. Dyjack said environmental health is profoundly personal and oftentimes the solution is with the people.

Executive Director of the United States based National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Dr. David Dyjack, says public health officials must form relationships with local communities, if they are to be successful in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases.

Giving the keynote address at the Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) 69th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition at the Grand Palladium Resort and Spa, in Hanover, on October 29, Dr. Dyjack said it is important for health officials to resonate with the people they serve and not to wait for a crisis to happen before they go into communities.

“Environmental health does not begin with the anticipation or recognition of a hazard. It begins with the emotional state of your constituents. We need to think differently in the way we deal with people. We don’t wait for an outbreak of mosquito- related diseases to happen before we go into the communities. We need to go into the communities before a crisis happens…to build relationships with the people,” he said.

Dr. Dyjack said environmental health is profoundly personal and oftentimes the solution is with the people. He noted that women, in particular, are an overlooked resource, and have done more to prevent health hazards in households throughout Jamaica as compared to their male counterparts.

“I have worked in public health for a great number of years and women are the ones that are most careful about the food and water that enter the baby’s mouth. They are the ones who ensure that water is not settled in the tyres or the drums to attract the mosquitoes. Women are the change agents,” he argued.

Meanwhile, Regional Environmental Health Officer, Karen Brown, said the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), including the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. Ann, has forged a partnership with the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to do clean-up work in the three parishes to combat the threat of mosquito-borne diseases and to make the conference’s theme –‘Putting Back the Public into Public Health: Make Aedes aegypti History’ – a reality.

“So far, the TEF has committed $15 million to the cause and we have been working assiduously to tackle the mosquito problem,” she said.

“The only sustainable way of reducing the spread of mosquito-related diseases is by reducing the breeding of mosquitoes by destroying their breeding sites,” Ms. Brown added.

She emphasised that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) also has a critical role to play in ensuring that garbage collected in the clean-up will be removed from communities in a timely manner.

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