Veremalua supports initiative

Fiji Sevens Olympian and Wolbachia champion Jasa Veremalua (2nd from right) at the World Mosquito Program launch in Suva on March 21. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Fiji Sevens Olympian and Wolbachia champion Jasa Veremalua (2nd from right) at the World Mosquito Program launch in Suva on March 21. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

A MEMBER of the gold medal winning sevens side has added some extra “muscle” — supporting the local project and health initiative.

Fiji Airways Fiji Sevens utility Jasa Veremalua is standing behind the cause using his voice to raise awareness of WMP’s safe Wolbachia method and how it aims to reduce the risk of dengue, chikungunya and Zika outbreaks in Fiji.

“I’m proud to be an ambassador for the World Mosquito Program because mosquito-borne diseases are a big issue in our country,” Veremalua said.

“I really encourage communities to support WMP and be a part of the solution in fighting these potentially deadly viruses.”

Veremalua noted that recent dengue outbreaks in some parts of the country show how important WMP’s work truly is.

With community support, the World Mosquito Program will use a safe and natural bacteria called Wolbachia to reduce the ability of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to pass dengue, chikungunya and Zika between people.

Project sites in other countries have seen no evidence of local transmission of any of these viruses, after WMP introduced Wolbachia into local mosquito populations.

Over the coming months, WMP will be talking with communities about how Wolbachia works and hope that Veremalua’s voice will be heard. Fijian 7s rugby players are world-class and the nation almost comes to a standstill when they step on to the field. They are inspirational to people from many walks of life.

Veremalua hopes his profile can help make a lasting difference to WMP’s Fiji project and inspire communities to endorse WMP’s work, aimed at making Fiji a safer and healthier place to live.

WMP Fiji is proud, excited and humbled to have Veremalua on its team and looks forward to working together to help raise awareness of their innovative method.

People wanting more information about Wolbachia can visit worldmosquitoprogram.org or find us on Facebook – World Mosquito Program Fiji.

* Priya Chand is the communications officer for the World Mosquito Program. For more information, visit www.worldmosquitoprogram.org

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