The territory is building its capacity to control mosquitos and other pests with help from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, government announced Friday.

Recently, two CARPHA officials visited the Virgin Islands to monitor and evaluate the implementation of its “integrated vector-management activities,” according to Government Information Services.

Dr. Horace Cox, head of the regional organisation’s Vector-Borne Disease Unit, explained that vector-borne diseases are a heightened threat here because the Caribbean is vulnerable to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“The reality is if we were to have an outburst of the mosquito population it can prove to be problematic,” Dr. Cox said. “It can affect tourists; it can deter them from coming. It can affect the economy, and also — and most importantly — it can affect the health of the population. So when we consider these things, it is important to have a robust programme that can respond to this ongoing threat.”

He added that the territory’s Environmental Health Department must aim to deliver a programme that is sufficiently robust to respond to the evolving changes of vector-borne diseases.

Building capacity

Meanwhile, CARPHA Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Maria Garcia Joseph said CARPHA has been working with the VI to build capacity by providing training, procuring equipment, and sharing science, resources and best-practice methodologies.

She added that monitoring and evaluation are very important to vector control.

“CARPHA has been working with BVI since 2018 and have been rolling out some interventions, and we are at a point where we want to know if the interventions are working,” Ms. Joseph said, adding, “We want to know what has been happening in the field. We want to collect information to find out what has been working, what areas needs strengthening, and what additional support we can bring to the programme to enhance it.”

Henrietta Alexander, the VI’s deputy chief environmental health officer, thanked CARPHA for the assistance.

“We do need the support of external agencies, and they have been such a tremendous help in building our capacity and making sure that what we are doing is effective and making a difference,” Ms. Alexander said.