FAIRFAX, Va. — A 14-member delegation from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) returned last week from a fact-finding mission in Haiti where the group surveyed deteriorating pest conditions in hospitals in Port-au-Prince as a result of the January 2010 earthquake. The conditions within these facilities, according to the delegation, are deplorable as medical facilities and tent cities are overrun with fly, cockroach and rodent infestations, which leave patients at risk for contracting various pest-borne illnesses, such as E-Coli and Salmonella. The physical devastation to the country – and the inability to handle the massive amounts of debris caused by the earthquake – has created the ultimate breeding ground for pests. Such conditions will likely be exacerbated by the arrival of Haiti’s yearly hurricane season in June and cause increased possibilities for the spread of pest-borne illnesses within much of the still displaced population.
In response to the clear need for pest control services in Haiti, NPMA is preparing to launch a new industry-wide support program entitled, The Pest Management Pledge – Protecting Public Health in Haiti.
“The pest issues facing Haiti are grave, especially in hospitals,” said Rob Lederer, executive vice president of NPMA. “In visiting hospitals that are meant to be safe havens for the ill and seeing the severe pest problems that threaten the work of doctors and nurses in Haiti, it became clear to our delegation that this was the first, necessary area in which to provide our expertise and resources. NPMA has always answered the call in the wake of natural disasters and after seeing the immediate need in Haiti, I am fully confident that our members will take this pledge and help us as we begin to implement a formal plan of action. ”
The NPMA delegation has initiated a strategic plan to work with the Haitian government, hospital administrators and local pest control companies to address medical facilities on a case-by-case basis and with specifically tailored pest management plans. NPMA will use its resources to help minimize pest entry points, purchase products designed to prevent pest infestations and most importantly, to train Haitian pest professionals so that they can properly perform pest control operations in an ongoing manner.
“It is imperative that we work efficiently and effectively to assist the Haitian people now, but also provide them with vital long-term pest management training that will help them in rebuilding their country,” said Lederer. “Our industry has already shown tremendous leadership and support in assisting Haiti and we will continue to rely upon the valuable input and demonstrated commitment of our members as we work to create healthier hospital environments through The Pest Management Pledge. The generosity of our membership – in funding, time and talent – is necessary to the success of this initiative and I have every confidence that our membership will step up to meet the public health and property challenges currently facing Haiti.”
NPMA has begun to look toward planning a future trip to Haiti where volunteers will not only provide training and materials to the Haitian pest control companies but also, will work with the appropriate parties to ensure the field work meets the level of professional standards. If interested in learning more on the fact-finding mission in Haiti, visit NPMA’s blog: http://npmablog.wordpress.com. To learn how to be of professional assistance or to donate funds to this initiative, please visit http://www.npmapestworld.org/Haiti.htm.