By Latrishka Thomas
The absence of a vehicle has stymied the mosquito prevention efforts in Barbuda, said Nadia George, Chairman of the Health Committee on the Barbuda Council.
She said, however, that a survey and an awareness campaign was started to address the problem.
“We have had our lone vector control officer. One of our issues that we’ve had in regard to fogging is not having transportation and support for him to go out, but what we’ve had done with our health inspectors was to go out and do a survey of the island in regards to, or encouraging people how to safely deal with their water issues, and find out what areas are most vulnerable to breeding of mosquitoes. They have also been treating the water … to help to eliminate the breeding of mosquitoes,” George explained.
George was responding to questions raised after a lone female picketer took her concerns over the alleged neglect of the health of Barbudans to the Fisheries Complex in Barbuda yesterday while the Barbuda Council was being set up.
Beverley Gerald stood outside of the premises holding a sign, which read: “The Council is responsible for the wellbeing of the island. You need to fog to control the breeding of the mosquitoes. Dengue fever is on the rise in the Caribbean. Stop mosquito breeding.”
The Health Committee Chairman responded to some of those concerns saying that in addition to the campaign, the Peace Love and Happiness (PLH) organisation has been committed to assisting with the fogging in the meantime.
“One of the things that we are looking to do this year… we are going to be out there letting people know what they are to do and not to do during this time. Also, we have commitments from people within the community – PLH — to fog. I know Barbudans have seen the white smoke and have been wondering if something is on fire; they assisted in fogging and in the meantime, we can get ourselves sorted out.
Moreover, she said that health inspectors have divided the community into three sections and “even like abandoned homes — people have not come back to deal with cisterns that were left opened — we have been treating the water”.
“We are aware of the dangers of dengue and we really have been in consultation with the Central Health in Antigua and they have been willing to assist us in any way possible … so, honestly, we will be stepping up our game because we are aware of the issue out there with dengue,” she concluded.
Late last month, Chief Medical Officer Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas confirmed that there is an outbreak of dengue fever in Antigua and Barbuda.
This revelation has produced some level of disquiet among some residents.