THE St Thomas Health Services, in conjunction with the St Thomas Parish Council has launched the Clean Up Jamaica Programme, which will be focused on significantly reducing the rat and mice population in some communities in the parish.
Dr D'Oyen Smith, Parish Manager for the St Thomas Health Services said the programme will target Morant Bay and other townships in the parish such as Port Morant, Golden Grove, Yallahs, and Seaforth.
He said the programme is being implemented in light of an increase in the rodent infestation level revealed by a recent survey.
"There have been a number of daytime sightings of rodents, and an increase in the rodent nuisances from the inspections carried out, as well as complaints from residents," he said. "This prompted a survey to be conducted which has revealed that there are significant infestation levels in some sections of the parish."
The programme will be a public/private partnership with an anticipated strong community support. The activities under the programme involve solid waste management, baiting, and public education.
The programme was officially launched at a stakeholders' meeting at the Anglican Church Hall last month.
The St Thomas Health Department has also been working with key stakeholders in the parish to improve solid waste management since it has been identified as one of the major causes of infestation.
In 2010, the department launched a three-year solid waste management project aimed at significantly reducing littering and the number of illicit dump sites in the parish.
The project is spearheaded by a team of public health inspectors and health educators and was implemented in collaboration with the National Solid Waste Management Authority, and other key stakeholders.