The Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the zika as well as dengue and chikungunya viruses
By Joy Springer
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The ministry of health in Barbados is working to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the insect vector for the dengue, chikungunya and now zika viruses in the island.
Health Minister John Boyce explained last Wednesday that this did not mean that a mosquito will never be seen in the island again, but rather that the mosquito population would be reduced to the point where it would be unlikely that anyone would contract a mosquito-borne disease.
He was speaking at a seminar mounted by the Environmental Health Department for maintenance workers in the tourism sector to share information on ways to implement effective vector control programmes at their workplaces.
Boyce said that the arboviral disease eradication programme, currently being conducted by the Environmental Health Department, was the first step in ridding Barbados of the threat posed by the mosquito.
He disclosed that at the end of the three-month programme, other programmes would be rolled out to ensure that the campaign continued in a sustained way.
The health minister said that, according to the World Health Organisation, mosquitoes caused more human suffering than any other organism, with 50 million people worldwide being affected by dengue each year, and more than one million people dying from mosquito-borne diseases worldwide annually.
“Our goal as a ministry is to reduce the morbidity and mortality that result from dengue fever, chikungunya and zika through the implementation of activities to decrease mosquito breeding,” he said.
In addition to the tourism sector, Boyce said the ministry was also forging partnerships with other important local and international agencies, including the Pan American Health Organisation, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the World Bank, UNICEF, Massey Distribution, Brydens Stokes and the Barbados Yellow Pages.
“We believe that these partnerships are important and we are planning to have a meeting of current and potential partners to share our detailed plans and allow for closer collaboration,” he revealed.
The seminar for the tourism sector was held in collaboration with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the Barbados Tourism Product Authority.