Dengue Control Unit organises programme to combat menace

Published : 12:06 am  November 13, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Expected rise in dengue patients 

 

  • The trap, made of sustainable material, will create an ideal environment for the female mosquitoes to lay their eggs
  • The teams will investigate possible dengue breeding grounds, issue red notices and ensure legal action is taken against residents who flout directions

 

CITY-DM-4-4A programme to control the spread of dengue is to be held this week to combat the expected rise in dengue patients in the coming months, sources at the Colombo Municipality said yesterday.   


The programme organized by the Dengue Control Unit will see officers, including public health inspectors and army officers, on door to door inspections across Colombo. The teams will investigate possible dengue breeding grounds, issue red notices and ensure legal action is taken against residents who flout directions set out by authorities to control the spread of dengue.   


The Colombo Municipality, bracing itself for the impending monsoon rains and the expected increase in dengue patients also embarked on a pilot project of setting up new traps to ensnare dengue mosquitoes.   


Speaking to the Daily Mirror on a previous occasion regarding the project which was implemented at the New Bazaar in Pettah, Colombo Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Ruwan Wijeymuni stated that the traps would destroy mosquito larvae, thereby reducing the mosquito population and eventually wiping it out.   

 

We believe, engaging citizens to assist us in this regard is the most efficient way to curb the spread of dengue


The trap, made of sustainable material, will create an ideal environment for the female mosquitoes to lay their eggs in. The larvae from these eggs will be killed within 24 hours by the specific mechanism built into the trap, 
Dr. Wijayamuni explained.   


“The unique formula of organic material in the trap will attract mosquitoes in the vicinity and provide a controlled environment for them to lay eggs. As the eggs will not develop any further than larvae we will be able to reduce the mosquito population,” he said.   


The trap is designed especially for the Aedes Mosquito (responsible for transmitting dengue, sika, yellow fever and chicken gunya). The female mosqito laid eggs at least five times during its life span with at least 200-300 eggs laid each time.   


“The mosquito population therefore has an exponential growth. If we can have one such trap for every three houses, we will be able to reduce the mosquito population within a year or so,” he said.   


The CMO said the trap which was used globally to study epidemics, was developed by PHI Sisira Basnayake and modified by Dr. Subash Mendis. “The main objective of the project is mosquito surveillance and as such we have laid out 1,000 traps under the pilot project.”   


The trap did not need any pesticide or electricity and was completely environmentally friendly self sustainable. “The trap becomes more effective as time goes by making it perfect to solve the issue at hand,” Dr. Wijayamuni concluded.   


Additionally, the Dehiwela Mount Lavinia Municipality also recently entered into a partnership with the Citra, a social innovation lab, to develop a citizen-centered open source platform for dengue prevention and control.   
Citra, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development, Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, uses foresight and innovation tools to prototype and test development solutions to ensure they are agile and holistic. Its work is aligned to the national development priorities and works towards bringing in greater citizen engagement to the formulation of development solutions.   


One such initiative is developing an open source platform aimed at preventing and controlling the spread of dengue, with technical expertise from the Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Moratuwa.   
The platform, once developed, will improve local government’s efficiency in identifying, managing and monitoring dengue. It will also have a citizen engagement feature and will allow communities to identify and notify relevant local government authorities of the prevalence and locations of potential mosquito breeding grounds for necessary action.   


The users can send the exact location along with a picture of the potential breeding ground, following which the application will automatically add the location to a website for local health officials to review.   


The system provides a user-friendly, interactive web interface to process and analyze the data near real-time. This will help decision makers to predict and/or visualize potential risk-prone areas.   


Speaking about this collaboration, the Municipal Commissioner of Dehiwala -Mount Lavinia, Dhammika Muthugala, stated that “with the high prevalence of dengue in our communities, and especially with over 40 percent of the cases being reported from the Western Province, we need to find innovative initiatives if we are to effectively control and prevent dengue in the future. We believe, engaging citizens to assist us in this regard is the most efficient way to curb the spread of dengue.”   

 

The trap did not need any pesticide or electricity and was completely environmentally friendly self sustainable


A pilot project of this application will be tested initially within the Ratmalana Ministry of Health division under the guidance and leadership of Dr. Indika Ellawala, the Chief Medical Officer 
of the area.   


According to statistics from the Dengue Control Unit 36 percent of the dengue cases reported in the country were from the Western Province.   

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