Dengue fight efforts

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services has taken drastic actions to prevent the spread of dengue through intensified public awareness, clean-up campaigns and spraying activities, says Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar.

She made these comments while speaking at the World Mosquito Program (WMP) launch in Suva on Wednesday.

Ms Akbar said the program was a clear indication of the ministry’s efforts to enhance accessibility to quality health facilities and good health care services including communicable diseases and mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, chikungunya and dengue.

“We continue to encourage all Fijians to help us control the spread of dengue,” said Ms Akbar.

She said people could do so by destroying mosquito breeding places and emptying containers filled with stagnant water in their yards. She said dengue remained a public health issue for Fiji and the Government could not fight it alone.

“The control and prevention of the deadly dengue virus is everyone’s responsibility.

“We must all make a concerted effort to ensure our communities and nation is dengue-free,” she said.

She said in recent years, the WMP initiative had grown from a single focus on dengue and had included other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya.

“The innovative method WMP employs is safe, natural and effective called wolbachia bacteria.

“Wolbachia can combat life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue.”

She said wolbachia did not involve genetic modification as the genetic material of the mosquito had not been altered.

“Long-term monitoring shows that wolbachia is self-sustaining at high levels in the majority of WMP international project sites up to seven years after release. In these areas, there has been no evidence of local dengue transmission,” she said.