GIS - 23 November, 2015: A call for greater vigilance and action in tackling a range of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and chikungunya, transmitted by mosquitoes, was made by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Gayan, at an inter-sectoral meeting on vector borne diseases on Friday 20 November at the seat of his Ministry.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to discuss and agree on national strategies and plans for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. “We need national and regional commitment, multisectoral collaboration as well as resources to better prevent and control vector borne diseases," said the Minister to the various stakeholders, urging them to implement relevant measures.
“The prevention and control of vector borne diseases are matters of national interest and concern every Mauritian,” stated Mr Gayan. He emphasised that with the start of the summer season and the occurrences of heavy rainfall events, the risks for the emergence of vector-borne diseases, particularly dengue and chikungunya, are high.
The Minister stressed that the vector borne diseases not only represent an increasing threat to the human health but have also a significant economic impact. According to Mr Gayan, Rs 1.5 million were disbursed for the treatment of 82 cases of dengue fever this year, as running appropriate test and treatment for a single patient infected with dengue amounts to some Rs 18,000. He added that an additional Rs 13 m were utilised for fogging and larviciding operations as well as sensitisation campaigns, among others.
Highlighting the necessity for more public awareness about these diseases, Mr Gayan stated that people need to know how to protect themselves better. “The public is advised to take the usual basic sanitary precautions and to drain all stagnant water to avoid the breeding of mosquitoes,” affirmed the Minister.
It is recalled that according to the World Health Organisation, the world’s fastest growing vector-borne disease is dengue and that the spread of vector borne diseases is determined by a complex combination of social, economic and environmental factors, including the impact of globalisation on travel and trade, haphazard urbanisation, and environmental challenges including climate change.
In Mauritius, among the various measures being taken by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and other stakeholders to control vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and maintain the country free from these diseases are health education with intensive awareness campaigns, regular fogging and larviciding operations in regions with high mosquito population density, entomological surveillance at points of entry (ports, airports) with control of all aircrafts coming from or transiting through risk areas, and environmental management, such as cleaning and clearing of bare plot of lands.
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