By Fernelle Neptune, Ministry of Health
In light of Vector Awareness Week observed from Aug. 3-9, the Environmental Health Division of the Ministry of Health has embarked on an educational drive that highlights the proactive measures residents can take to reduce the risk of vector-borne illnesses.
Environmental Health Officer for Vector Control Charletta Charles spoke on the need to observe this week.
“Every year we tend to see some issues in terms of vector-borne diseases that come up. The entire aim of the week is to promote some level of awareness of vectors, the diseases that these vectors can spread, and what is it that we can do as a community and the country to reduce the number of cases of vector-borne diseases that we see on the island,” she said.”
Charles also called for the participation and empowerment of community members in protecting the health of their community.
“We need to take personal responsibility for our surroundings. We need to have that level of responsibility. We want to encourage persons to just take a minute or two, walk around your home, look for the breeding grounds of mosquitoes that you have, look at the standing water. Mosquitoes do not need much water for them to breed and in recent times it has been raining quite heavily and all these discarded containers, the garbage that we have is collecting water and they become potential and active mosquito-breeding sites. So, we get a lot of calls and complaints, especially in recent times. So, this is what we want persons to bear in mind, you can make a difference in your own home and in your community,” Charles added.
Resident of Pavée, Jeremiah Joseph, applauded the efforts of the Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority and the Environmental Health Division for assisting in an initiative in the fight against rodents and mosquitoes in his community.
“We didn’t want people to just come and clean up. We wanted people to know exactly the proper way. Because it is one thing to have a cleanup campaign but it is the continuation. You want people to take more responsibility for their community. So, the Environmental Health Department decided what they could do is to help by hosting meetings with the community explaining to them how important it is to keep your community clean, the proper way of disposing of garbage. Because with garbage, there are a lot of rodents, rats and mosquitoes; all those vector-borne diseases that the rodents could have can have an impact on the health of the community,” Joseph said.
Vector Awareness Week is being held under the theme, “My Actions, My Community, My Health”.