(PRESS RELEASE) — Saint Lucia’s response to Zika and arbovirus is expected to be strengthened as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a social and behavior change workshop recently.
The workshop is aimed at enhancing the capacity of participants to increase the practice of priority healthy behaviors in the community as it relates to vector control.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sharon Belmar-George says vector-borne diseases are of significant public health importance, therefore there must be the integration of social and behavior interventions in health programs.
“I think this workshop is extremely timely and I am also happy to see the presence of our partners, cause at the Ministry of Health we cannot do it alone. We need the support of all our partners to get at the level of the community.”
Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer Parker Ragnanan says it is important that a collective action in the community be undertaken for vector control.
“We hope that you are going to be change engines in your community, in the society and be responsible to see that there is an integrated vector management approach that is undertaken. For too long, as a country we have depended on using chemicals to treat for vectors. What we have seen is that the results are very clear that you cannot do the same thing all the time and expect a different result and therefore, the result that we are seeing is evident that the chemical treatment is not working.”
A participant of the workshop, Lucy Lubrin-Girard, believes this workshop will assist her in making changes in the community.
“I am confident that I will be able to facilitate a better intervention program with all the skills and knowledge I have acquired. I also learned strategies to get maximum community participation and involvement focusing on the stakeholders and the resources required to effect that change and to be able to monitor and evaluate the impact of the intervention on the ground.”
Another participant, Alicia Elivique, also shared her perspective on the workshop.
“We as community leaders, we always figure the main thing is to put out perhaps if there is a meeting, put the notice on the radio station and expect persons to come but having come to this training, I realize there is a target audience, there are other factors to be considered when calling a meeting, even when conducting a survey, etc.”
A key element of the workshop was a data collection exercise on vector control in Gros-Islet.