Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton kicked off the National Dengue Clean-up exercise on Friday (January 24) at St. Catherine High and Friendship Primary schools in the parish.
He was joined by vector-control workers in inspecting the grounds of the institutions to identify possible mosquito breeding sites.
They poured larvicide in manholes and drains at Friendship Primary and treated a small pool of water that had settled outside of a classroom block at St. Catherine High.
The activities formed part of the Government’s national three-day campaign to tackle the dengue virus under the theme ‘Mosquitoes wanted dead, not alive!’.
Schools and business places are the focus of the first day of the exercise.
In his address to the students at St. Catherine High, Dr. Tufton reminded them that they have a crucial role to play in the mosquito eradication effort by keeping their environment clean, collecting and disposing of solid waste properly, and searching for and destroying breeding sites in their schools, homes and communities.
He told them that most mosquito breeding takes place in the domestic space, that is, in and around the home.
“The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which transmit the dengue virus) love the home environment; they love where people are, they love the comfort of your home just as you do, but they are, of course, a threat,” he said.
Dr. Tufton urged the students to continue to support the clean-up exercise beyond the days allocated for the campaign.
Principal at St. Catherine High, Marlon Campbell, told JIS News that the school welcomed the assistance.
“Our children are aware of the dangers of the mosquitoes and we have been taking steps to fix it. We welcome the minister, who…reinforced what we would have taught in our home and family education classes,” he said.
Acting Principal of Friendship Primary School, Rayon Howell, for his part, said that the initiative has heightened the awareness of students as it relates to the dengue virus.
He told JIS News that part of the day’s lesson will be focused on dengue education, and encouraged all Jamaicans to play their part in keeping their surroundings clean and destroying mosquito breeding sites.
National agencies, local authorities, members of parliament, councillors and volunteers have been engaged to conduct clean-up operations in communities across the island under the National Dengue Clean-Up exercise.
Grants Pen and Rae Town have been selected as national projects.
On January 25, three gully-cleaning teams will commence clearing of major gullies at Barbican, Grants Pen and Acadia, and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will continue the removal of bulky waste using 10 teams.
Beach clean-up and gully-cleaning exercises will take place in Rae Town, and the two national sites will be visited by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on day two. He is expected to be joined by Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips.
On January 26, the clean-up effort will continue with the removal of bulky waste.