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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Ministry of Health Launches Campaign to Combat Dengue Fever in Laos

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With 10,000 cases and six deaths already being reported this year, the Ministry of Health in Laos is actively addressing the dengue fever outbreak in the country with a mission to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds and raise awareness among locals.

An official from the Department of Communicable Disease Control of the Ministry of Health said on a phone call to the Laotian Times that the ministry is actively engaged in destroying mosquito breeding grounds across several districts in various provinces throughout Laos. The primary objective is to inform and educate locals about the importance of eliminating potential hotbeds for mosquitoes to grow and thrive. 

According to the official, authorities are counseling locals on how to maintain clean and pest-free homes, and emphasizing children’s critical role in the awareness campaign.

We are putting an extra effort into educating children about this issue and are even trying to add our health education program into their curriculum,” he said.

Additionally, the ministry is distributing posters to raise awareness and promote the habit of sealing unused containers, cleaning residential surroundings, emptying out water containers regularly, and using guppy fish to consume mosquito larvae. 

However, the official mentioned that the campaign faces challenges due to some families’ lack of cooperation. 

“In my opinion, some families weren’t very helpful. We had to speak with the local governor to urge some of them to take care of their own surroundings since they were far too dependent on the ministry to make things happen for them.”

In a related development, the Global Mosquito Population Control initiative implemented by the International Children’s Aid in Laos is showing promise in combating the dengue fever outbreak. The ongoing project involves the introduction of Wolbachia mosquitoes, which have strong immunity against various viruses carried by other mosquito breeds.

The 20-week-long initiative, currently in its 13th week, is being carried out in 30 villages across Vientiane Capital and Chanthabouly Province. While concrete evidence of the impact of Wolbachia mosquitoes on reducing dengue fever cases is yet to be confirmed, the NGO leading the initiative expects results within a year. If successful, the initiative has the potential to be expanded to other areas in Laos.

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