Gov’t Earmarks $1B To Bolster Dengue Eradication Programme

Jamaica News: The Government will be spending $1 billion over the next three months to support enhanced measures to contain the spread of the dengue virus.

Of the sum, some $469.9 million is earmarked for the procurement of 31 mounted fogging machines; 35 fogging vehicles; ultra-low volume flushing solutions; 25 handheld fogging machines; 150 cases of Natular tablets for water treatment; and continuing the engagement of 1,000 vector workers into March 2020.

Additionally, approximately $302.5 million will go towards solid waste removal, and $227.5 million for sensitisation.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, made the announcement during a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 12).

He informed that the enhanced intervention includes the establishment of a National Dengue Coordination Committee that will comprise representatives of key ministries, departments and agencies.

Dr. Tufton noted that the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is being charged with mobilising the Local Boards of Health, as part of the coordination at the parish level.

In addition, the Social Development Commission is to initiate community activation sessions for high-risk areas. These engagements will include community meetings and town hall sessions.

The National Solid Waste Management Authority is also to ramp up the removal of solid waste, especially bulky waste, from communities; while the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has been tasked with mobilising schools to undertake dengue sensitisation sessions.

“The Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries [is to] mobilise Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) Extension Officers to engage farmers on proper water-storage techniques and for them to undertake breeding site eradication strategies,” Dr. Tufton indicated.

The Health Minister also told the House that the National Works Agency is to undertake drain cleaning and bushing activities to reduce mosquito breeding sites, especially in communities with high indices.

Dr. Tufton further informed that the enhanced measures will also see the planning and execution of a National Mosquito Eradication Day exercise in conjunction with the National Labour Day Secretariat in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

As at November 7, 2019, the Health Ministry’s National Surveillance Unit had a total of 12,794 notifications for dengue, received between January 1, 2018 and November 7, 2019 (2,235 in 2018 and 10,559 since January 2019), logged in its electronic database.

Of the 12,794 notifications, 7,179 cases, with dates of onset in the period under review, have been classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed (1,065 with dates of onset in 2018 and 6,114 (85 per cent) with dates of onset in 2019).

The Health Minister said the majority of the suspected/presumed/confirmed cases were female, with the burden of the number of cases greatest among persons aged 25 to 59 years old, followed by the five to 14 years old cohort.

However, Dr. Tufton said the highest rate of dengue cases was among the five to 14 year olds, followed by children one to four years old.

As at November 7, there were 61 suspected/confirmed deaths, of which 17 were in 2018 and 44 in 2019.

The age group with the largest number of suspected and confirmed dengue-related deaths was the five to 14 years old cohort.


Source: JIS News

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