JIS News

Residents of Buff Bay, Portland, turned out on Friday (November 12), to participate in a community clean-up project.
Dubbed, ‘Dengue Clear Out Project, it was spearheaded by the Social Development Commission (SDC), and was one of five national projects in observance of Community Month, under the theme, ‘Build your community: mek it safe’
Buff Bay Public Health Action Committee Chairman, Desire Gutzmore, says the community has been faced with a number of challenges, including mosquito infestation and improper garbage disposal. The committee formulated a plan to eliminate the problem while, at the same time, educating residents.
The project was submitted to the SDC, and was selected out of 14 other projects across three parishes.
Ms. Gutzmore said she believed that, by undertaking such a venture, the risk of Dengue fever can be greatly reduced and the town’s aesthetic appearance improved.
“We hope good sense will prevail and community members will continue to maintain the clean up and beautification effort,” she added.
Public Health Inspector and Supervisor for the West Zone, Samuel Roberts, said the parish first confirmed Dengue case was in January, and less than 10 confirmed cases have been recorded in the parish since.
Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The symptoms are sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle pains, bone or joint pains, skin rash and vomiting .
Explaining that the country was still in the ‘alert phase’, he said “we should all play our part in preventing it from getting out of control.”
“We believe that such a project will make an impact, and we are happy that all the stakeholders can come together to help in a public issue such as this,” Mr. Roberts said.
He implored the community members to adhere to the preventative measures communicated to them, adding that educational programmes have been carried out in schools and at Parent Teachers Association (PTA) meetings, among other civic groups.
According to the Public Health Inspector, safety measures include, keeping flowers in damp soil or sand in the home, re-using or disposing of old tyres, cleaning refrigerator troughs , punching holes in tins, disposing of garbage properly, including old appliances in which water can accumulate, covering all water storage containers and clearing drains, so that water can flow freely.
Mr. Roberts said he is confident that the community will be mobilized and motivated to continue the effort, “so that things do not return to where they are coming from.”
Declaring that the Portland Health Services was happy to be a part of the activity, he said “we believe partnership with the community is the way to go.”
SDC Governance Director, Sherine Francis, said as a country, we have to look at the health and well being of the community.
“At the SDC, our mandate is to build communities and to look at their development in a holistic way. This includes focusing on the environment, how it is kept, and how their solid waste management is maintained.”
SDC Parish Manager for Portland Ishiwawa Hope, said the project involved bushing overgrown trees and removing solid waste in Buff Bay, Woodstock and Olivere Housing Schemes, and in the Kildare area.
She was pleased with the support from stakeholders partnering with the SDC to make it a success. They included, Buff Bay Community Development Committee, Buff Bay Fire Department, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Community Safety and Security Branch, Port Antonio, Portland Health Services, Optimist Club of Buff Bay, Special Task Force (STF) International Service Project Overseas Volunteers, Kiwanis Club of St. George’s, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Buff Bay High School, CB Traders, Buff Bay, Portland Cooperative Credit Union, Kamals Supermarket, Portland Parish Council, National Works Agency (NWA), Member of Parliament for Western Portland, Hon Daryl Vaz, and dedicated residents of Buff Bay.
Ms. Hope thanked UDC staff from the Hanover, Trelawny, Kingston and St. Andrew, St Mary and St. Thomas offices for supporting the venture.
Community resident and student of Buff Bay High School, Mccailia Silvera said, the programme would help youths to learn the importance of working together.
“Being involved will send a message to other young people to volunteer their service in ventures such as this,’ she added.
Group leader for the STF International Service Project, Neal Ichinohe, said the group, consisting of 20 young persons from the U.S., was pleased to be a part of the project. He added that it was an opportunity to experience Jamaican culture, and noted that it forms part of their mandate to “make a difference in the lives of others around us.”

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