Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George (left) and Christopher Cushing, USAID Mission Director for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean following yesterday’s opening ceremony.

Regional Headquarters of ZAP officially opens

Yesterday marked the official opening of the Regional Headquarters of the Zika AIRS Project (ZAP).

Speaking during the opening ceremony, which took place at the Hilton Resort yesterday morning, Christopher Cushing, USAID Mission Director for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean highlighted that under the umbrella of the Zika Project, ZAP was officially launched in December 2017, but the official opening of the headquarters, which is located on Hincks Street in Bridgetown, took place yesterday.

“USAID’s support under ZAP specifically strengthens the capacity of partner governments to implement vector control programmes and to monitor and eliminate mosquito populations, particularly the Aedes Aegypti species that transmits Zika,” he said.

“Ministries of Health are also receiving technical assistance in the planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating of vector control activities. ZAP conducts training on insect monitoring and insecticide effectiveness for mosquito control and supplies equipment needed for entomological activities. It is also helping develop national guidelines for integrated vector control management.”

Cushing noted that in Barbados, “a key ZAP deliverable” would be the procurement and outfitting of an insectary and training on entomological monitoring and vector control.

He explained that his work would be completed by USAID’s partnership with the Pan-American Health Organisation and the Caribbean Public Health Agency, as they strive to support Ministries of Health adopt regional guidelines for integrated vector management.

Cushing believed it was important to highlight that while this work focussed on Zika, the investments made would help to prevent, respond and control all mosquito-borne illnesses.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George noted that yesterday represented the inauguration of work to construct Barbados’ first Insectary.

He explained that this would allow for a better understanding of the vector Ades Aegypti in the context of Barbados.

“The insectary will allow for detailed analysis of the live cycle and breeding,” he said.

“The insectary will be fully equipped by USAID and will represent a major breakthrough in the epidemiology of vector borne disease in Barbados.”

He stated that this would provide opportunities for persons to conduct genetic and biochemical experiments. He was proud to see that there would also be a collaboration with the University of the West Indies.

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