A war on rats is being stepped up by a Ministry of Health-led task force in response to the increased sightings of the rodents, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, said today.
Declaring that the ministry took the issue of vector control “extremely seriously”, Dr. George said Cabinet has given the go-ahead for a scaled up response after ministers received a white paper on the crisis two weeks ago.
The health ministry has allocated $155,000 for a “multi-sectoral team to implement a scaled-up vector control programme”, the chief medical officer said in a statement.
So far, the ministry’s Vector Control Unit had stepped up baiting in high density areas, including the west and south coasts, using the conventional bait, an anticoagulant, as well as an acute bait, he said.
Dr George said school premises were routinely inspected and baited under the vector control programme and the unit is continue to closely monitor schools.
A multi-agency task force, comprising the Sanitation Service Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Commerce and a number of private sector entities, will hold its first meeting next week.
The Chief Medical Officer also urged residents to be proactive in fighting the rodents.
Dr George said: “We cannot succeed in tackling any vector control problem without the cooperation of the public. We know there are issues with garbage collection, so therefore, residents must take responsibility for properly securing their garbage until it can be picked up. Additionally, they must seek out alternatives to garbage collection such as recycling and composting.”
He encouraged residents to bait their premises, noting that bait was available free of cost at all polyclinics.