Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday directed local authorities to prepare a mechanism to control an imminent dengue outbreak with the onset of the monsoonal rains in the country, as the death toll from the virus has reached 20 this year.
In a statement, the President’s Media Division said the western province which includes capital Colombo, recorded the highest number of dengue patients per year, posing a health risk as there was a significant influx of people into this area daily.
The president said that only through an effective dengue control mechanism, which gives priority to the western province, could prevent these people from becoming carriers.
The president also pointed out the necessity to conduct cleaning programs, giving priority to schools, hospitals, state entities, places of worship, and construction sites. He instructed the environmental police to monitor these areas in collaboration with respective health authorities and local government organizations.
The president and prime minister further instructed relevant officials to gather once a week with the governors and local government authorities to evaluate the progress and use the experiences of the countries which are successful in dengue prevention.
“If you have a high fever, visit the main district hospital for dengue treatment in your area,” she said, adding that it was important to keep one’s surroundings clean and free of breeding grounds.
According to the Epidemiology Unit’s data for May, 144 dengue cases were identified in the central hills of Kandy, 118 in Ratnapura, in south-central Sri Lanka and 83 in the northern city of Jaffna, while Colombo recorded 62 cases.
Last year, over 99,000 people were affected by the mosquito-borne virus in Sri Lanka with 90 deaths reported. The National Dengue Control Unit launched several programs to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds in several districts of the country.