The Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) has recently welcomed three Disease Protection Officers (DPO) to its team.
Two of the new recruits were hired following recent promotions within the team, whilst the third will take charge of MRCU’s expanding services in Little Cayman.
Philip Bent and Rico Reid, who began work at the MRCU on May, 13th and June, 3rd respectively, will both be based in Grand Cayman. Kemarley Maxam, who also joined the team on May, 13th, is MRCU’s first DPO to be permanently based in Little Cayman.
The Minister for Health, Environment, Culture and Housing, Hon. Dwayne Seymour stated “it is always inspiring to see young Caymanians pursue a career serving the people of the Cayman Islands in whatever way they can.”
MRCU Director Jim McNelly, PhD echoed this, adding “I am proud to see the next generation of Caymanians become part of our team and help to continue the MRCU’s commitment to researching, surveying and controlling the mosquito population across our islands.”
The three Caymanians join 13 other DPOs in the MRCU team. Each is responsible for managing the surveillance and treatment of mosquito populations within a specific geographic area across the islands.
For the first time, this approach includes a dedicated person permanently responsible for Little Cayman. In the past, the island’s mosquito population was managed through ad-hoc requests.
Their first two weeks as DPOs consisted of an intensive training programme designed to get them up to speed on all surveillance and control-related aspects of their new role.
Mosquito surveillance will form the largest part of their daily duties. Training included techniques for checking the aquatic stages of mosquito development; taking, maintaining and recording field samples and performing residential, swamp and pasture inspections.
As part of control training, the new recruits were taught safety procedures for spray application and which spray formulations are most effective at controlling mosquito populations under different conditions.
The new faces come as two veteran MRCU employees were promoted to Senior DPOs after 55 combined years with the unit.
Marcus Grizzel, who started with the MRCU in 1987, and Leonardo Rodriguez, who started in 1995, have been in their new roles since February this year.