National campaign launched to combat virus
Barbadians were yesterday reminded that it is an offence to prevent health inspectors from entering their properties.
Ronald Chapman, the principal environmental health officer assigned to the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic, issued the reminder, while calling on householders to carry out their own inspections of their properties and to remove any water settlements that can act as breeding sites for mosquitoes.
“And as you go around, if you do find mosquitoes, you empty that container or you may treat it in a number of different ways. However, if you are still having problems, give the environmental health officers a call and we would be more than happy to come out there and work with you to get the problem solved,” Chapman said.
The Principal Environmental Health Officer, who was speaking to Barbados TODAY this morning at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic in St Peter where the National Zika Campaign was launched, noted that mosquitoes were usually found breeding in drums and buckets.
“The major breeding sources are our 55 gallon drums, the ones people use for keeping water for their plants and so on. . . the five gallon buckets is our most prolific breeder in terms of quantity. Almost every Barbadian has one or two of what we call the salt meat buckets at home, and, if not managed properly, they usually [are found] breeding mosquitos,” he explained.
Chapman also pointed out that the law gives provision for the health officers to enter homes without a warrant.
“And any attempt to hinder the inspector in the carrying out his duty is considered a breach of that law. It is an offence and you can be charged with a summary conviction of anywhere between $500 to $5,000.
“But it usually never gets that far. Usually once we go and we find that sort of thing, a senior inspector goes back and we usually get it smoothed out,” he said.
Chapman, who is coordinator of the Zika campaign, said the initiative was being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in an effort to eradicate the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, the vector that spreads Chikungunya, Zika and Dengue.
Over the next month, the Ministry aims to inspect all households on the island, starting with the south and north of the island today.
He said as part of the ambitious programme, inspections would be carried out at each property at least twice and a fogging process would also be included.
“We are out here en masse in terms of all the inspectors are out and we are doing a very intensive programme in terms of doing our inspections, trying to find as many mosquitoes as we can and overall trying to get a break in transmission of the disease. We want to get the disease to an end and we want to eradicate mosquitoes from Barbados,” Chapman explained.