Acting Regional Vector Control Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority, Ryan Morris, says partnerships are needed to minimise the prevalence of mosquitoes across Jamaica.
In noting that this has, for long, been deemed the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Morris stressed the “need to be cognisant that we all have a responsibility and a role to play in controlling this vector”.
He was addressing stakeholders during the recent St. James Public Health Services’ Vector Control Symposium at the RIU Montego Bay Resort.
Morris explained that despite the ministry’s focus on a multifaceted integrated vector management approach to curtailing the mosquito population, “we want personal responsibility to be at the forefront”.
He argued that fogging, which is utilised to eradicate adult mosquitoes, is a temporary fix, and further contended that continuous utilisation of this method would only result in resistance by the insect and heavy reliance on the use of the chemical.
“We want to move [away] from that; we want to have source reduction at the forefront. So if we can have all hands on deck, having effective source reduction, we would have gone far way in controlling breeding sites,” Morris said.
For his part, Vector Control Officer at the St. Elizabeth Health Department, Michael Myles, in his presentation, reiterated that chemical use in mosquito control is a small part of “a lot of other activities [which] is a last resort.”
Myles also underscored the importance of planning in the fight against vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever.
“Planning prevents an emergency. We cannot stop the disease, but we can contain it and reduce the number of deaths,” he said.
Myles emphasised that everyone must play their part in curtailing mosquito prevalence by destroying breeding sites.
The symposium brought together stakeholders to discuss matters related to the Aedes aegypti mosquito, mosquito-borne illnesses, as well as the prevention and destruction of mosquito-breeding sites in the region.