Editorial comment – Let’s play our part

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete with invited guests and Narewa villagers release the Wolbachia mosquito in Nadi yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

It is interesting to note that the release of Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes was carried out in Narewa, Nadi, at the weekend.

We learn that this campaign is headed by the World Mosquito Program (WMP) with financial support from the New Zealand Aid Program.

The project is expected to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

Nadi Town Council senior health inspector Premila Chandra said the release of Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes was anticipated to assist the work of health officials and their efforts.

The initiative, she said, was good and she was impressed by the way the WMP engaged local communities across Nadi and Lautoka, listened to their questions and included as many people as possible in the feedback process.

Releasing the first Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes was inspiring, she said, because the project had so much potential to create a better future for Fiji.

Over the next few months, Nadi and Lautoka residents would witness the release of Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes from small white tubes.

These mosquitoes are expected to breed with wild (Aedes aegypti) mosquitoes passing on the Wolbachia to their offspring.

The end result is that when Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry Wolbachia, it could significantly reduce the risk of outbreaks.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services chief health inspector Dip Chand said the $2.7 million project had been a huge success so far.

The program is a positive step forward in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases.

But rather than just rely on this cause of action, we have a challenge as well to do our bit to assist in the overall campaign.

That means doing the little bits at home.

It means cleaning up our back yard.

It is really up to us to advocate cleanliness, starting with our own compounds. Let’s empty containers, get rid of old tyres, drums and make sure pot-plants are not carrying stagnant water.

Let’s keep mosquito repellents handy and have our compounds clean and tidy.

Awareness campaigns are held every year.

Yet the number of people infected with dengue fever and other mosquito-borne disease is never-ending it seems.

Clearly there are inconsiderate people around who will not clean their compounds.

They leave bushy land for mosquitoes to breed in.

Shouldn’t we be responsible enough to play our part?

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