Dominica has been warned to take the issue of vector control very seriously since the island is vulnerable to vector-borne diseases.
The warning was issued at a national consultation to review the island’s National Integrated Vector Control Plan.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Helen Royer told Wednesday’s consultation that Dominica is very vulnerable to vector-borne diseases and all measures necessary should be taken to prevent it.
“Malaria is prevalent in 108 tropical countries and it is estimated that there are 250-600 million cases and over 1 million deaths each year,” she revealed.
According to Royer, the staggering statics are a cause for concern since Dominica possesses all the characteristic which could facilitate the transmission of the vector borne diseases.
“We are a tropical country with very high rainfall. The vectors which transmit these diseases are present and in some cases their presence can be overwhelming. Dominica’s vulnerability to these diseases has been proven with outbreaks of Dengue Fever occurring, in 2007, 2008 and 2010,” she said.
Royer indicated however, this “gloomy representation” of the global burden of the disease from vectors, is by no means a representation of the countries readiness, to prevent, control and treat vector body infections.
In that regard, she says the Ministry of Health is spearheading the triad of approaches, which aims to control, prevent and treat these diseases, to ensure the safety of the population.
She says while vector control has proven to effectively control vectors and diseases which they transmit, the full benefits have yet to be realized.
“The guiding principle therefore is that effective control is not the sole preserve of the health sector, but require collaboration with private and public sectors,” she said.
Royer also noted that there is a need to develop a national capacity for evidence-based decision making, to increase the efficiency in control measures.
Meantime the Pan America Health Organization representative for Dominica Shirley Augustine says vector borne diseases continue to be an important public health problem in the region, with epidemics of increasing trend of dengue occurring.
“Increase population mobility and migration facilitates vector borne disease transmission,” he said.
The national consultation which is being held at the Public Service Union ends at 4pm today.