JIS News

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jean Dixon, has suggested that the University of the West Indies (UWI) develop a research programme to examine the resistance of certain pests to various pesticides.
She made the suggestion at an award function hosted by the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, yesterday (December 4).
Dr. Dixon noted that especially in the case of mosquitoes, which are vectors, it is necessary to be able to test the efficacy of the treatment protocols being used to control their population, so as to ensure they do not build up resistance.
“We cannot afford to wait until a pesticide is no longer useful before we begin to look for alternatives and I do believe that if we could have the University of the West Indies, maybe the final year students, systematically evaluate the resistance or the reaction of some of these organisms to the treatments we have available that we would see trends emerging and we can take action in a timely manner,” she explained.
Dr. Dixon also said she was concerned about the misuse of pesticides, which has led in some cases to an imbalance in the ecosystem and the elimination of some useful organisms.
She said it was also very important to balance the interest of persons who need pesticides, those selling pesticides, and the health and safety of persons handling the pesticides, or who will eat foods treated by the chemicals.
The Permanent Secretary shared statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which reveal that there are an estimated three million cases of pesticides poisoning each year, resulting in about 250,000 deaths. She noted that children are especially vulnerable.
“Last year in Jamaica our statistics show that of the maybe just under 700 persons who were poisoned, just under 500 were children. So, the children are most vulnerable,” Dr. Dixon stated.
Also speaking at the award ceremony, Chairman of the Pesticides Control Authority, Dr. Alverston Bailey, said although the PCA was facing challenges, the agency is undertaking several initiatives, including, training and licensing of pest control officers and public education campaigns to guard against poisoning; and the development of legislation regarding the use of pesticides.
He congratulated the persons who were recognised during the ceremony for their service to the PCA as well as farm stores, which were deemed most compliant by the PCA. Among those recognised was former PCA Board member Mr. Geoffrey Madden for his contribution to the Authority.

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