(PRESS RELEASE) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) continues to provide support to the Department of Environmental Health in the fight against mosquito borne diseases.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness completed a three day training workshop on the on December 1st for its Vector Control Officers on the safe use, maintenance and repairs of thermal foggers.
The training was undertaken by Renard Xaviere from Power Farms in Barbados and was aimed at capacity building within the Department of Health to improve its response to control the mosquito population on island.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Wenn Gabriel gave further details on the mission of the workshop.
“This workshop represents another leg in the preparation, you know vector bond diseases are a serious threat to us in Saint Lucia as well as the entire Caribbean as a matter a fact in the past five (5) years or so we have had three (3) major outbreaks of vector bond diseases and therefore we believe we need to prepare and that we have been doing so by training our staff. We’ve had training with respect to the entomological aspects of vector control, we have also done some training with respect to testing for resistance as it pertains to some of the pesticides that we use in vector control and today we are moving on to some training with our vector control staff with respect to the safe handling of equipment used in mosquito control. ”.
Foggers are a one of the critical machines used within community based programs to reduce, control and prevent the spread of mosquito borne diseases. The CEO of Power Farms in Barbados, Renard Xaviere said whilst there may be concerns, that foggers may not be environmentally friendly, he believes that the fogging process is very lucrative and harmless in the fight against mosquitoes.
Power Farms in Barbados – Renard Xaviere: “Fogging remains the most cost-effective way to disperse the pesticides into the environment where the mosquito is very prevalent and I think it will be here for a long time to come, because it is the way we treat our environment and species such as Aedes Aegypti which is responsible for Zika and a whole lot of tropical diseases which are very prevalent, there is resistance to some insecticides and so on and I believe scientist are working on better products that can last longer and so on but it is pretty safe and I know that there are some detractors who would say well you know, well I think most of it comes from the noise that the machine makes and you are seeing large fog but it’s really the most cost effective and safest way to really combat this particular pest”.
At the end of the training the environmental department expects a reduction in down time of machinery, improvement in fogging techniques and an overall strengthening of the Departments’ response to mosquito borne disease outbreaks.