MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) was recently the beneficiary of $2.25 million from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) for its Vector Control Programme in Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth.
George Sloley, Chief Public Health Inspector at the Manchester Health Department, said that the money will go towards destroying breeding sites where possible and fogging to "knock down" adult mosquitoes.
For Manchester in particular, he believes that ongoing intervention is required.
"Dengue goes up higher in the summer months. In 2012, it was unusually high. Manchester I don't think is the worst-kept parish, but it had the second highest incidence of dengue. In Central Manchester, by virtue of our poor water supply system, we have to store water so the Aedes Aegypti (mosquitoes) breed in it. The black tank is a haven for the Aedes Aegypti. We hardly find them breeding in concrete tanks," he said.
Anthony Freckleton, chairman of the South Coast Resort Board, said that the donation is part of a wider initiative to encourage and protect the fledgling south coast tourism sector.
He said that at a Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) retreat last year experts advised that tourists coming to Jamaica in the medium to long term were increasingly interested in attractions other than sea, sun and sand.
"We want to partner with the SRHA to set up the first telemedicine hub in Jamaica . We want to pilot the telemedicine initiative at the Mandeville Regional," Freckleton said. "Over the next three years we will be working assiduously to develop the hub. We can't afford to be below standard. A vibrant collaboration with SRHA will help. The (South Coast) Resort Board is committed to ensuring that this partnership flourishes," he added.
Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison, said that his organisation tries to be inclusive in its approach.
"We were not thinking of tourism when we thought of this. We were thinking of the environment. We are very broad in the way we approach things. We get fully involved. Key among our criteria is sustainability. We want it to stand up long after we are gone," he said.
Peter Bunting, Central Manchester member of parliament, welcomed the telemedicine initiative. He said it seemed to be consistent with his vision for the constituency as a knowledge-based centre.