JIS News

The Portland Health Department has been conducting a rodent control programme in Port Antonio and Buff Bay to eliminate the rat infestation problem affecting both towns.
Lorenzo Humes, Acting Deputy Public Health Inspector for Portland, told JIS News that the programme began in March after surveys were conducted in the affected areas, to determine the approach to be taken in confronting the problem, stakeholders meetings were also held with community members to solicit their co-operation.
He noted that both towns were chosen for the programme because of the extent of the problem in those areas, adding that components of the project included a public education drive to sensitise the people of the parish about the importance of the initiative; general cleaning-up of both communities; and the training of personnel to conduct the baiting exercise.
Mr. Humes pointed out that the baiting component of the programme would commence during the first week of May, with a special team from the Portland Health Department.
He said funding for the programme was being provided by the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education (CHASE) Fund.
Mr. Humes explained that the main areas of concentration for the programme would be the centres of both towns, as well as a number of locations on their outskirts.
He said that the initiative was also being undertaken to prevent the spread of leptospirosis, which is usually associated with rat infestation. Mr. Humes pointed out that the public education campaign was being conducted in several ways, including the staging of community meetings and the distribution of literature.
He said that business persons in the parish were being requested to make their business places rodent proof, by blocking out entrances which could provide access for the rats.