Dominica joins the rest of the world on Monday, April 7, to observe World Health Day 2014.
The event is celebrated every year to mark the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948.
This year’s World Health Day is observed under the global theme, “Small Bites Big Threats,” focusing on Vectors and Vector –borne Diseases. The purpose is to raise awareness about the threat posed by vectors and vector-borne diseases and to stimulate families and communities to take action to protect themselves.
Vector-borne diseases are infectious diseases spread by intermediate organisms, such as insects, including mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and snails that transmit viruses, parasites, and bacteria to humans. These diseases cause a high burden of illness and death for individuals, their families, and communities, especially in poorer countries.
In light of the present situation with vector – borne diseases in Dominica, the Ministry of Health in observing World Health Day will undertake a month of activities, running from April 7 to 30, 2014.
The focus will be on vectors of public health significance, namely, mosquitoes, rats, ticks and flies.. A core element of the campaign will be to provide communities, households, schools and the public at large with information on vectors and vector – borne diseases.
The Director of the Pan-American Health Organization- PAHO Dr Carissa Etienne, emphasizes that these diseases lead to school absenteeism, worsening of poverty, a negative impact on the economic productivity, high health costs and overloaded health systems in countries.
The Ministry has collaborated with stakeholders namely, Dominica Solid Waste Corporation, Dominica Air and Seaport Authority , Roseau City Council, National Pest and Termites Control, the Dominica State College, Ministry of Education and the Immigration Department to focus on Vectors and Vector-borne diseases and their effects on the population and the economy .
Activities will involve:
• A radio address by the Minister for Health on the occasion of World Health Day.
• A roving exhibition on Vector Borne Diseases in all Health Districts
• Poster competition among Primary Schools
• Vector borne disease presentation in schools.
• Media discussions on Vector and Vector borne disease.
• A media Advocacy Forum on Vector and Vector- Borne Diseases
• Derelict Vehicles clean up drive
• Community Village Hall Discussion
• Community Clean-Up Campaign in the Roseau and Marigot Health Districts
Vector control remains the most important tool in preventing outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. The Ministry of Health is calling for a renewed focus on vector control, both at the community and institutional levels.
The Ministry of Health is calling on civil society, community groups, farmers, families and all other key stakeholders to take steps to protect the population from infections and to act and take responsibility for combating vectors and vector –borne diseases.