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Health personnel discuss strategy to fight vector diseases

Ministry of health personnel engaged at a workshop to look at the COMBI project for Malaria and Dengue. Senior Public Health Inspector, Javier Alpuche said they are looking at preventative measures which includes behavioral changes.

Javier Alpuche, Senior Pubic Health Inspector

“We are here today working on our COMBI plan for the Belize district, let me say firstly how we arrive at the plan. We basically looked at the available cases on Dengue for the Belize district. Last year 2014 we had a little over 1,100 cases. Of those cases, 75% or 830 cases were reported in Belize City. We have Belize City divided into different zones. We also did analysis of where these reports were coming from, we identified the zones that were producing the larger number of cases. Zone 4 produced 23-25% of the cases from Belize City hence why Zone 4 was selected. But Zone 4 basically comprises of a large area, the Lake Independence Area, part of the Collet area and even part of the Pickstock area it’s very large so we had to narrow it even further. So we narrowed it whereby we selected a smaller area where we had the majority of cases and that will be our project area. We also then looked at what behavioral change we would like to bring about. We consider the drums, water storage containers are serving as positive breeding groups for the mosquito which is the vector for dengue so we selected that for behavioral change. Additionally we looked at the issue of clean up campaigns. We find out that in terms of the first behavioral change we are seeking to have persons clean these containers once per week and keep the drums covered. The second behavioral change having to do with clean up campaigns we regularly conduct clean up campaigns. Whenever we do campaigns and these are successful to a large degree they are done in coordination with the Belize City Council and Belize west control but we would want to see much more participation from the residents. “

Alpuche said there are a number of hot spots around the city that need attention.

Javier Alpuche, Senior Pubic Health Inspector

“That has to do with water storage containers to a large degree. It has to do with garbage disposal where you have a lot of tires and cans and bottles and other rubbish, hot spots basically that occur in some of these areas. You might have issues with drains as well. Drains where the water is stagnant and is not being cleaned and garbage vegetation these are areas where you have big mosquitoes.”

Health educator for the Central health Region, Emir Castaneda is a participant in the workshop.  He spoke of the important of community participation as well as maintaining a good relationship with the communities.

Emir Castaneda, Heath Educator

“The community is aware about the dengue situation, they are aware of the mosquito, they are aware of how to stop the dengue but what we need to do is curb the behavior and there are many obstacles in that regard and that is something that we are going into the community and talk to them because the community can say that they can’t make the changes because of economic situations but I think what lacks is communication with us so we want to establish that communication and do a one to one with them.”

It was a one day workshop.