Cabinet approves additional $1b to fight dengue

Cabinet has given approval for $1 billion to be spent over the next three months on enhancing vector control initiatives amid the current dengue outbreak in the island.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, who made the announcement in Parliament this afternoon, outlined that $469 million of the approved funds will go towards the emergency procurement of 35 vector control vehicles and mounted foggers,  tablets for water treatment, and payment for vector control workers.

He indicated that the vector control programme will be extended to at least 6 months after the outbreak has been declared at an end.

According to the minister, there have been 61 confirmed dengue related deaths since 2018, 44 of which were in 2019 alone. The minister further noted that the age group with the largest number of deaths was the five to 14-year-old cohort.

He said the enhanced intervention includes the establishment of a National Dengue Coordination Committee, adding that key ministries, agencies and departments to be called into action include the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Social Development Commission, National Solid Waste Management Authority, Ministry of Education, Youth & Information, Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries, and National Works Agency.

The minister also renewed appeals for Jamaicans to partner with the Government by taking action, including searching their surroundings for mosquito breeding sites in and around the home and to visit their doctor or health centre as necessary.