A “forgotten people” North Leeward Residents Appeal For Help

By Ernesto Cooke

A “forgotten people” – that is how residents of the North Leeward Constituency describe themselves when it comes to matters of Public Health, but more specifically, the scourge of the dreaded Zika Virus.

zika

With the onslaught of Zika, residents told News784 that their communities have not been fumigated against the virus.

Concerned parents told News784 that with the commencement of school in nine days’ time, they have concerns for their children with educational institutions that have been locked up over the summer vacation, a potential hiding and breeding ground for the Aedes Aegypti mosquito responsible for the transmission of Zika.

Villagers say the constituency of North Leeward has never been fumigated, and calls on the Ministry of Education and the Public Health Department to have the schools in the area power washed, disinfected and fumigated.

“They have never fumigated the villages in an effort to stop the spread of this serious virus!”, one villager told News784.

A resident of Petti Bordel told News784, that since the rise of zika all the villages in North Leeward should have by now received there first round of fumigation, but such is not the case. “Zika has touched almost every household in this area”, he said.

MP Roland Matthews
MP Roland Matthews

Speaking to News784 Parliamentary representative, Roland “Patel” Matthews (currently out of state) said, that up to his time of leaving on 12th August, he was not aware of any fumigation program being carried out in the area.

“I still haven’t heard of any. Like everywhere else, everyone is concerned about the threat of Zika. As a result I am telling the government to do what it must to educate the people about the zika virus”.

“While a little jingle is here now and then, more efforts are needed”, Matthews said. The Parliamentary representative went on to say that, “Like everything else, education plays a vital role, and it is important that some measure of awareness be engaged in to bring people up to speed about Zika”.

St Vincent was recently placed on a warning list of 27 countries by the Atlanta, Georgia based Center for Disease Control, which it says pregnant women should avoid due to the Zika infestation.

650-investigation

News784’s investigation revealed that North Leeward has not had an assigned Environmental Health Officer in the last 10 years.

The report stated that there were arrangements in place for officers dealing with food handler’s clinics and other pressing complaints, but no one was assigned specifically to the district.

The investigation further revealed that an individual from the Central Leeward  district would from time to time make checks in North Leeward, but performing a dual set of tasks had become extensively burdensome and had to be halted.

Our investigation also revealed that while the indices for the area might not be significantly high, infested water stored in drums is a huge factor.

The investigations uncovered that in over 400 storage drums inspected, over 110 were found to be breeding grounds for the mosquitoes. 

S.E.H.O Carlos Wilson
S.E.H.O Carlos Wilson

News784 spoke with Senior Environmental Health Officer, Carlos Wilson, to find what steps his department was planning to remedy the situation.

Wilson said that, two new E.H.O’s had been hired and one would be assigned permanently to North Leeward as of September 1 2016.

Wilson further told us that come Monday 29th August, two teams from the Vector Control Unit would be dispatched to the North Leeward district to carry out fogging operations.

The operation would span communities from Spring Village all the way up the North West coast to Richmond.

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