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  • The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has made $5.9 million available to the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), to assist with the cleaning up of resort areas in the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary, as part of the national response to the Chikungunya virus (ChikV).
  • The money is also supporting NERHA’s ChikV/Ebola awareness campaign among tourism sector employees and other stakeholders in the health region, which rolled out on Tuesday (November 25), with a one day environmental health and surveillance training workshop at Jewel Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann.
  • More than 100 medical, administrative and frontline staff from hotels, villas, tourist attractions as well as transport operators, were trained in ChikV preparedness and response and vector control in tourist establishments

The Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has made $5.9 million available to the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), to assist with the cleaning up of resort areas in the parishes of St. Ann and St. Mary, as part of the national response to the Chikungunya virus (ChikV).

So far, there has been extensive clean-up and vector control activities aimed at eliminating breeding sites for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, at nearly 20 resorts and adjoining areas.

The money is also supporting NERHA’s ChikV/Ebola awareness campaign among tourism sector employees and other stakeholders in the health region, which rolled out on Tuesday (November 25), with a one day environmental health and surveillance training workshop at Jewel Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann.

More than 100 medical, administrative and frontline staff from hotels, villas, tourist attractions as well as transport operators, were trained in ChikV preparedness and response and vector control in tourist establishments. Participants also received instructions on Ebola preparedness and response, as well as record keeping and data reporting instruments.

Addressing the event, Chairman of NERHA, Leon Gordon, said there is need to raise the level of awareness within the tourist industry about ChikV and the possible threat of Ebola.

Project Consultant at TEF, Donald Jackson, hailed the alliance between his agency and NERHA, noting that the aim is to empower communities to combat the diseases, and also prevent widespread panic due to ignorance.

“We want a solution that is sustained and we believe that if the solution is going to be sustained, then the health authority … needs to develop some public education that consistently provides the (public) with (the necessary)  information on how to combat these diseases, whether it is ChikV or Ebola,”  Mr. Jackson said.

Noting that he is pleased with the project so far, he informed that the TEF has provided a number of conditionalities to its sponsorship and has built in checks and balances to ensure effective execution.

“We want to see that things are actually being done. We don’t want to see a report that says, ‘oh we have been out there,’ but the communities can’t vouch for this. We are as concerned like yourselves about the diseases but we won’t sit back and wait until we are overwhelmed. We are going to plan to move away from the borders of fear ….. to a place where we can deal (successfully) with whatever threat may come,” he said.

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