Health Minister warns of fines over dengue
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday August 8, 2011 – Last Thursday’s death of an eight-year-old girl from dengue fever has prompted Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan to urge residents to “clean up their act", to prevent the spread of the disease, warning that the Ministry is giving consideration to fining irresponsible residents who fail to keep their surroundings clean.
Dr. Khan made the appeal and issued the warning as he noted that an empty lot near the home of the young dengue victim, Asia Archibald, could have provided a breeding ground for the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
“I understand there is an empty lot where she lives and there is a possibility of that area having broken bottles etc., and a bottle, even if it's not broken, could collect water inside. A mosquito is a very small thing, it could just go into the mouth of the bottle and breed and then come out, so it's possible that could have happened,” he said.
The Health Minister said that although there is legislation in place for the Regional Corporation to fine people who don’t take care of their properties, the whole process frustrates the government agency.
“And it lets off a lot of delinquent people off the hook because the process is long and drawn out, but I think we need immediate fines also, as they do abroad, in areas such as this,” Dr. Khan said.
He added that while people call for spraying once there is a mosquito infestation, that is not the solution.
“Spraying is part of the answer, like a five per cent; 95 per cent of the answer lies in cleaning up the surroundings,” Dr. Khan insisted.
The Health Minister said drains also needed to be cleaned and people had to look after themselves and their surroundings and not expect the Government to do everything for them.