Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is warning that persons who refuse to destroy mosquito breeding sites on their property could face penalties.
He said there is law that allows for fines on individuals or business entities that reject warnings to eradicate such areas on their premises.
“I believe that the time has come, and we need to enforce the law, because we have to find all possible ways to create behavioural change as the most effective weapon to controlling dengue,” Dr. Tufton said at a recent town hall meeting at the HEART Trust/NTA’s College of Construction Services in Portmore, St. Catherine.
He was responding to a complaint from a vector control worker about being prevented from accessing premises in the parish to carry out mosquito eradication activities.
Dr. Tufton told the forum that fines have been imposed recently on some persons in St. Catherine, and enforcement of the law will be stepped up.
He said that the objective is to encourage personal responsibility in creating a healthier environment and reduce the transmission of vector-borne diseases.
Meanwhile, Medical Entomologist with the Ministry, Sherine Huntley-Jones, assured that the chemicals being used for fogging activities are all certified as safe for public health by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“All the chemicals that we use are effective for what we are using them for and the exposure of an individual in a community that is being fogged is very limited. As such, there is no expected harm that must be experienced by the persons exposed to it,” she said.
She, however, urged persons who have respiratory problems, to cover their nose with a wet cloth, or stay out of the areas being fogged.
Principal of the Naggo Head Primary School, Andria Givans, commended the Ministry for providing the necessary information to parents and students for the control of dengue.
She appealed to residents of the community not to “shut out” health workers from their premises.
“They have a job to do and the fogging will make things better for us,” she said.