World Health Day 2014 – Small Bites, Big Threats!

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are inviting stakeholders to join the global campaign to prevent or control vector borne diseases by organising mosquito eradication drives within local communities.

This comes as World Health Day 2014, which will be celebrated on Monday, April 7, under the theme, Small Bites, Big Threats, focuses on the dangers posed by vector borne diseases.

Vector borne diseases are a group of ailments which are usually spread to people by blood sucking insects and arachnoids such as mosquitoes, fleas, sand-flies, mites and ticks.

In the Caribbean region, significant human suffering and loss of productivity may result from the bite of mosquitoes, which are capable of spreading dengue fever, malaria and recently Chikungunya fever.

These mosquito-borne illnesses and the associated costs are preventable to the extent that we can limit mosquito to human contact. Members of the public are, therefore, urged to support the objective of World Health Day 2014 by making a commitment to achieving and maintaining mosquito free surroundings, which may be done through simple, yet effective measures.

These include: weekly walk-throughs of premises to seek out and remove all likely mosquito breeding sites; the clean-up and disposal of all garbage and refuse which may hold water; the covering and proper sealing of water storage containers and waste water systems; and the draining of pools of stagnant water or chemical treatments to kill mosquito larvae. Alternatively, fish may be introduced to bodies of water to feed on larvae.

Persons are also encouraged to demonstrate their support of World Health Day 2014 by emailing photographs and reports of individual mosquito eradication efforts to hylandla@paho.org. Submissions will be showcased on the PAHO website. For further details persons may contact Larone Hyland or Gloria Byer at 434-5200.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

Author: Cathy Lashley/Ministry of Health/PAHO
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