Minister of Health and Environment, Kenneth Darroux has assured the public that there is a reasonable budget for the prevention and management of the Zika virus, saying $1-million is being made available.
Darroux stated at a press conference on Wednesday that money available from last year’s budget is being used to combat the virus.
“A lot of these finances would be existing monies available from last year’s budget. So, the one million budget that we spoke about doesn’t necessarily mean new or additional funds. These are monies that were would be available under various heads,” he said.
He explained that more resources would be provided as needed.
“Of course, as I said, as the campaign intensifies, additional resources are going to be needed — human resources, financial, and otherwise, especially as it pertains to the procurement of chemicals, etcetera — that these monies will be made available,” he noted.
Thus far, the MOH has implemented fogging in communities and has held educational seminars on the Zika virus, highlighting symptoms of the virus, as well as methods of prevention.
Despite the resources being made available to meet the threat “head-on,” Darroux emphasizes that each individual must take responsibility for his/her own welfare. He made sure to reiterate that there is no scientific cure or vaccine for the potentially dangerous virus.
Meanwhile Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Ivor Stephenson, has called for increased support for the efforts of the Ministry of Health in combating the introduction of the disease in Dominica.
He insisted that if Dominicans take all necessary precaution, then there will be no need to be frightened of the disease.
“Zika is everybody’s business and therefore, we require all interventions, all the support from all the necessary stakeholders,” he stated. “We must strengthen all measures in order to prevent the introduction of these diseases into our country. If only we, as a people continue to take all the necessary preventive measures, then there would be no need to be frightened about all the complications that Zika seems to be threatening us about.”
Stephenson said that although MOH has taken steady action to reduce the chances of local Zika transmission — in the form of source reduction drives, biological control measures (fish used to control mosquito larva), fogging operation, and health education activities — prevention depends largely on individuals’ actions.
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Anthony Scotland has called for Dominicans to “declare war, and maintain a consistent war on the Aedes Egypti mosquito.”
He believes that in order to truly combat the virus, people must first acknowledge the threat the vector poses.
“We need to take it serious that this is a vector that can cause illness and death to you, and your family, and your neighbours,” he said.
According to Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr. Laura Esprit, the Ministry is doing everything in its power to keep the public informed of all new information on the disease.