REAL NEWS – The United Progressive Party (UPP) is concerned about the lack of information on cases of dengue fever that reportedly have been confirmed in Antigua and Barbuda.
Last week, a Loop News report indicated that there were about 20 cases of dengue here and that the acting chief medical officer, Dr. Teri-Ann Joseph, had reassured the public there is no need for alarm.
However, D.Gisele Isaac, chairman of the UPP, is asking why no statement on the matter has been made locally, so that residents are kept abreast of what is taking place. Further, she is wondering whether the Ministry of Health is trying to “manage” the situation and make it more palatable before delivering a public statement.
According to Isaac, the UPP is not happy about the lack of communication from Ministry of Health officials concerning what can be a deadly disease.
In the meantime, Loop News reports Joseph as saying that an increase in dengue cases is common during the rainy season, since this time of year fosters a favourable environment for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for dengue transmission.
Typically, she says, 10 to 20 dengue cases are seen between September and November, with 15 to 20 considered an alert stage.
In response, Health officials reportedly have adopted proactive measures, including home inspections, fogging, educational materials, and increased testing, with the aim of preventing an epidemic.
However, critics claim that no fogging efforts are being carried out. And they are challenging the Central Board of Health to say in which communities such exercises have taken place – particularly since Tropical Storm Philippe dumped copious amounts of rain on the country.
On the other hand, after distributing over 8,000 mosquito traps to government workers, community groups, and various institutions, the Department of the Environment (DOE) is promoting another community-led initiative: affordable mosquito traps for a “Climate- Ready Antigua and Barbuda.”
The DoE – a department within the Ministry of Health – says the initiative will provide these traps to the public, as part of its commitment to preparing communities for the challenges of climate change.
“These innovative traps … will not only help reduce mosquito populations, but also the proceeds of the sale will contribute to building climate resilience within local communities,” a statement from the Department says.
Participating community groups reportedly will make the mosquito traps accessible to everyone.
The business community is urged to support this initiative by purchasing the devices and distributing them among their employees.
The mosquito traps and glue pads are available for purchase at a number of venues, including the 11th Hour Daycare; the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Centre; the Old Road Primary School; the Victory Centre; the Church of God of Prophecy; and the St. Andrews Anglican Church.
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