23rd June 2016
With the Zika Virus spreading its wings across the region, Minister of Health and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph has announced that 1.2 million dollars has now been made available to help keep the Zika Virus at bay.
Joseph made the disclosure during a national clean-up symposium at his Redcliffe Street Office.
The meeting attracted key representatives from the Central Board of Health, the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the Royal Police Force and other Ministry of Health technicians.
Minister Joseph said the majority of the funds will go towards the island wide clean-up campaign and the elimination of breeding sites for the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito.
"We are bringing all the resources to fight this vector and Antigua and Barbuda will be the first OECS Country to take this kind of precautionary measure. As a matter of fact, the Government is so serious about this that the Ministry has been allocated 1.2 million dollars for us to spend to fight this enemy of the state", Joseph said.
The massive clean-up exercise will target all types of waste materials from old cars, derelict buildings, garbage, bulk wastes, building materials, to old tyres and house hold appliances.
The gutters in and around St John's will be heavily targeted as well and a rat eradication program will also come on stream in the city.
Minister Joseph said it will not be a onetime event but rather a constant bombardment and attack against the deadly insect.
"This is not just an exercise that we will do today and turn our backs tomorrow, but we are in this for the long haul because we want to eliminate the breathing sites of this Aedes Aegypti Mosquito", Joseph disclosed.
Minister Joseph also revealed that the August 13th and 14th clean-up activity will provide at least one hundred temporary jobs and the campaign will be done on a constituency level in conjunction with the Member of Parliament for the area.
In conclusion, Joseph told the meeting that there is a genuine link between the health of the nation and the cleanliness of the country, therefore the Government is taking a holistic approach to both Antigua and sister island Barbuda.
"You will find that most of the clean-up work were done in Point, Villa, Greenbay and Grays Farm areas but what the government has concluded is that if we are to address and respond to health threats, we have to start looking at the nation as a single space", Joseph stated.
The health minister also spoke of some grim figures coming out of St Vincent and the Grenadines where some seventeen (17) pregnant woman tested positive for the Zika Virus in that country.
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