The Vector Control Unit of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Jamaica has made continual efforts to map the entire island for vectors in communities across the island. Some communities, because of their locations, are at a higher risk of individuals contracting or becoming infected by vector borne illnesses, such as malaria or dengue, so help is needed to control the issue. But because so many people are needed to cover all of the need areas for monitoring, the MOH has come up with the idea of using an exchange of labor for learning.
The Corps programme, under the National Youth Service (NYS) division, is one of the programs developed to effectively address many of the social issues facing young people in Jamaica. Through training, re-socialization and work experience, participants can be placed in the program to become Vector Control Facilitators. The youngsters become apart of a public health team to go out in communities and collect the data. Then identified areas can be taken care of in terms of treatment. GIS training is also given to the youngsters so that further analysis can be done on the data collected. Over 300 youngsters have participated in the program and work within each parish and in the various communities. The program has been effective and has helped to screen over 94,000 households on the island.
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Melissa Lawrence, Social Marketing Administrator, VERTICES, LLC