St. Catherine Parish Council Hosted Emergency ZIKA virus Meeting
Consequent to the Ministry of Health’s confirmation on Saturday, January 30, 2016, of Jamaica’s first case of the ZIKA virus infection, the drive to eliminate mosquito breeding and purge breeding sites has intensified. To this end, the St. Catherine Parish Council’s Parish Disaster Management, Environment and Climate Change Committee hastened to call an Emergency meeting in the Council’s meeting room, Emancipation Square, Spanish Town on Monday, February 01, 2016.
The meeting saw representatives from a host of response agencies, community groups, Councillors and media houses, who came out to see the way forward as it relates to this vexed problem.
As the Local Board of Health, we have a duty to ensure that things are put in place to ensure that areas are sterile and that is, as it relates to vector control and other activities, said Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott, who chaired the meeting. He said a cleanup campaign which took place in December 2015, where over 5000 tyres were collected from garages and tyre shops within Spanish Town and environs. He said flowing the training of over 130 persons in December to aid in carrying out the necessary community interventions within the parish, he recommends that the numbers be increased to 300. He added that the Council had previously ordered 500 drum covers to be distributed to especially rural areas within the parish, and recommends that another 500 be ordered.
Mr. Richard Baker, Chief Public Health Inspector in the Ministry of Health, St. Catherine North, commented that the preparation phase is over, it is now time to do the real work, and all the necessary precautions will have to be taken to contain and prevent the spread of the ZIKA virus. He said whilst cleanup activities are in the pipeline for high risk areas, presently the Ministry’s vector control surveillance team is working overtime to rid areas of breeding sites. He added that since Portmore is where the first case was found, there has been a wholesome intervention in the Municipality and fogging will be continuous.
Acting Mayor of the Portmore Municipal Council, Leon Thomas, who was also present at the meeting said, Portmore did not waste any time when the case was found. A number of measures have been put in place and the sensitization has intensified.
As part of the sensitization programmes planned, town cry will be sent into various communities, as well as distribution of flyers. Town Hall and Community Meetings will also be held, Mayor Scott said, commencing the first week of February.