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Fogging, public engagement strategies launched to tackle dengue cases

WITH the aim of reducing the mosquito population due to the increased dengue cases in Guyana, the Caribbean, and globally, the Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, met with the Vector Control Team to discuss the need for intensified fogging activities across the country.

In an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, the Adviser to the Minister of Health and the former Health and Agriculture Minister, Dr. Ramsammy, explained that the government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Health, had begun a fogging exercise earlier in the year.

According to him, they started the fogging exercise in March of this year, and they are ensuring that they increase it in the coming days with the help of the Vector Control Team. He also said that they have created a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and local government, which is inclusive of the municipalities, the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), and the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), in order to carry out the exercises.

According to the former Health Minister, “the Ministry of Health is providing support to the municipalities, the RDCs, and the NDCs by providing as much chemicals as possible that are required. We are also ensuring that there are adequate fogging machines available so that the regional authorities and municipalities can have access to and make use of them. The Ministry has also established a schedule for this cycle, but I am happy to say that a completed exercise was done in March/ April of this year. We are presently working on another cycle in Georgetown, and that started last Friday.”

A fogging exercise is being conducted

Dr. Ramsammy further explained that there are separate exercises that are currently being carried out until September on the East Coast of Demerara, the East Bank of Demerara, and Regions Three, Six, Ten, and Five. While the goal of these exercises, according to Ramsammy, is to reduce the mosquito population across the country, he also noted that it is only one of the preventative measures that are being used.

He asserted, “We cannot fog the environment every day; it is not possible to do so, and it is also dangerous.”

In addition to the fogging exercises that are being carried out by the Ministry to contain/ reduce the mosquito population, Dr. Ramsammy emphasised the importance for the citizens of the country to keep their environment clean so as to prevent them from breeding.

“We have to make sure that environmental things are done. The people need to ensure that their yards and surroundings are taken care of, make sure that old cans, tires, and any sort of waste are disposed of in a proper manner, and that it doesn’t accumulate any water because that’s where they breed. People also need to ensure that their tanks with water are properly secured and not left open.”

Moreover, Ramsammy said that the environmental inspectors are in the field, and they are conducting more household visits so that they can educate and highlight the dangers of harbouring mosquitoes.

He also stated that the inspectors will also check for larvae and larva sites and destroy them so that the larva sites are reduced.

“These are some of the actions that we are taking now, and Mr. Anthony and I are working towards increasing awareness, advising, and educating the people. We will also have more engagements with people through television, radio, posters, and social media.”

Finally, Dr. Ramsammy said that they are working assiduously to get as much information out to the public as possible, and they are also doing their part in ensuring that the community is less invested in mosquitoes, but they are also asking the people to do their part as well, so Guyana can have the dreadful dengue virus under control.

“We are increasing awareness and educating our people more about dengue, but we also want you to help us reduce it. Keep your environment clean, educate your children, and teach them about tidiness and the dangers of mosquitoes in their surroundings. And I am referring to all the people of Guyana, in all the Regions. We can keep control over the rise of dengue if we work together to rid or decrease the mosquito population,” he explained.