(GIS) – On Nov. 10, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) met with the Ministry of Health team to identify and discuss the needs of the Ministry in combating the various mosquito viruses.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Wenn Gabriel, gave insight into the intervention undertaken by USAID.
“Over the past three days we have been working with a team from USAID and the purpose of their visit is to assess vector control and more specifically mosquito control. This comes in the wake of the outbreaks of chikungunya and also zika in the region. They will assess mosquito control methods, with the view to providing some level of assistance for Saint Lucia,” he said.
Meanwhile, USAID Project Coordinator for the Zika Project, Alana Shury, said dialogue is important for better understanding and execution.
“USAID doesn’t want to just come into a country and impose, we want to have a conversation and determine from the citizens and the government what they determine would be best,” she said. “To that end we’ve had sustainable and lovely conversations over the past three days, and we’ve determined what they would want and decided upon the areas of possible intervention.”
The project coordinator said while there has been a decrease in zika-related cases, it remains a major priority.
“There is the congenital zika syndrome, and the Guillain-Barré syndrome which are some of the issues we have to deal with after a person would have gotten zika, and we need to ensure that these people who are affected by zika have the best possible healthcare available.”
The project coordinator indicated that Saint Lucia would benefit from financial resources both directly and indirectly.
“Because the life span of this project will be from 2017-2019, which is a short time period to implement, we’re looking at providing the technical expertise for the local Ministry of Health to build their capacity to guide the intervention. Although there will be indirect and direct monetary support for the country, another way which we will be supporting the country is providing materials and supplies specifically within the vector control area and assisting the country to develop guidelines and protocols for the care of persons affected by zika.”