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MPs to get $54 million for dengue fight

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE Ministry of Health will be allocating $54 million to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), for disbursement to Members of Parliament to help in the fight against the spread of dengue.

The allocation brings to $300 million to total amount being pumped into efforts to contain the virus.

The disclosure was made yesterday by the ministry's Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan at a meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament at Gordon House.

“We will be providing allocations to each Member of Parliament, and with that allocation we are requesting MPs to activate their own intervention at the constituency level, to mobilise communities in terms of mosquito eradication… Those resources will be channelled through the CDF and we have already prepared letters to go to the MPs, and we are in consultation with the CDF in terms of transferring the resources to them to distribute,” he said.

The funds will help with activities such as vector control. Other aspects of the programme include allocations to the various health regions, and a partnership with the National Works Agency and the National Solid Waste Management Authority to undertake specific works.

On Tuesday, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton told Parliament that up to January 3, there were 830 cases classified as suspected, presumed or confirmed for dengue. He said the largest numbers of suspected, presumed or confirmed cases for 2018 were reported from Kingston and St Andrew (207), Westmoreland (90) and St Catherine (84).

The largest number of cases for December — the month for which the ministry said the virus surpassed the monthly outbreak threshold — was reported from Kingston and St Andrew (32), St Ann (30) and St Thomas (13). However, health authorities say the greatest rates per 100,000 population were reported from St Ann with 17, St Thomas (14), and St Mary (11).

Dr Tufton has outlined the roll-out of a number of strategies to combat the spread of dengue, such as the heightening of a public education campaign, surveillance through an integrated surveillance programme, and vector control activities which have been extended to March. He said an additional 500 temporary workers are to be employed to identify and eliminate mosquito-breeding sites.

He also informed that the ministry has forged partnerships with private pest control operators to increase services in all parishes. According to the minister, 55,795 premises visited have been found to be positive for the aedes aegypti mosquito — one of the vectors for dengue.