Jamaica has taken the initiative to rid itself of the most deadly criminal in our society. The government, along with USAID and the University of the West Indies (UWI), have decided that they have had enough death and mayhem and is now on a hunt for the killers. A coalition of ZAP hunters, some 200+, have been employed to comb parishes and find all hiding places and wipe them out. Accomplishing this will be done by trapping or brutal force.
ZAP or the Zika Airs Project, a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and USAID-Jamaica, is a vector control project. The aim of the project is two-fold; indoctrinate and eradicate. Field Technicians went dwelling to dwelling searching and destroying every mosquito hiding space found. They also took the opportunity to educate the communities that they visited so that residents were left empowered to do the eradication themselves from then on.
“Although the project was launched in response to the Zika outbreak, it has also provided an opportunity to assist overall, the fight against mosquito-borne diseases, including the recent Dengue outbreak.” These were the words of Mr. Jason Fraser, Country Representative for Jamaica. The Zapper teams visited over 36 thousand households monthly to carry out their mission. Mr. Fraser then went on to explain that the teams “eliminated breeding sights, monitored mosquito populations, and educate residents on the importance of taking active steps to search and destroy mosquito breeding sites around the home.
We spoke with Jean Margaritis, the Chief of Party for the Zap project in Jamaica to get a better understanding of the ZAP programme. Below is her response.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dunstan Bryan expressed his joy to be at the event representing Minister of Health Dr. Christopher Tufton. Being in the presence of all these changemakers was good. He went on to advise the team that over 200 thousand homes were visited and treated. He explained that the Ministry was satisfied with the outcome of the project, and made a surprise announcement.
The seriousness of this program should never be understated as it directly impacts how we live our lives every day. A mosquito is the deadliest insect of all because of its capacity to spread diseases. This was the sentiment of Alando Terrelonge, M.P. State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. He urged all patrons present to make sure that they do their best always to eliminate all mosquito breeding sites. He also requested that everyone feel proud of the work they put in during the project. He said many lives were saved directly because of the eradication of mosquitoes.
On top of all the great news about the reduction of mosquitoes in Jamaica, we were entertained by one of Jamaica’s best artists, Ikaya. Talk about a powerful short set.
Below is a pictorial from the event: