Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
The Virgin Islands is receiving assistance from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to build capacity to enhance vector control.
Head of the Vector Borne Disease Unit at CARPHA Dr. Horace Cox and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Maria Garcia Joseph visited the Territory to monitor and evaluate the implementation of integrated vector management activities.
Dr. Cox spoke about the threat associated with vector borne diseases, stating that vector borne diseases are always a threat, especially in the Caribbean that is vulnerable to hurricanes and other natural disasters.
Dr. Cox said, “The reality is if we were to have an outburst of the mosquito population it can prove to be problematic. It can affect tourist, it can deter them from coming, it can affect the economy and also and most importantly it can affect the health of the population. So when we consider these things it is important to have a robust programme that can respond to this ongoing threat.”
Dr. Cox said the aim is for the Environmental Health Department to deliver a programme that is robust enough to respond to the evolving changes of vector borne diseases.
Meanwhile, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Maria Garcia Joseph said CARPHA has been working with the VI to build capacity through training, procurement of equipment, sharing of science, resources and best practice methodologies. She said monitoring and evaluation is very important to vector control.
“CARPHA has been working with BVI since 2018 and have been rolling out some interventions and we are at a point where we want to know if the interventions are working,” Ms. Joseph stated, adding, “We want to know what has been happening in the field. We want to collect information to find out what has been working, what areas needs strengthening and what additional support we can bring to the programme to enhance it.”
Deputy Chief Environmental Health Officer, Ms. Henrietta Alexander extended appreciation for the external assistance from CARPHA. “We are so thankful for their assistance. We do need the support of external agencies and they have been such a tremendous help in building our capacity and making sure that what we are doing is effective and making a difference,” Ms. Alexander said.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to ensuring that all aspects of the environment with the potential to negatively impact the health of the population are managed efficiently to enable all persons in the BVI to attain and maintain optimal health and well-being.