Why we need to pay attention to the alert from Ministry of Health

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Everyone should take notice. And we mean everyone.

With the heavy rain settling in and the onset of the wet season, we need your attention for a moment. It could save your life and that of people close to you.

We cannot afford to be complacent.

In Samoa today, the fact is that dengue fever poses a massive threat and as a close-knit community, we have a responsibility to look after ourselves and our loved ones to ensure we pull through this difficult period.

On the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Ministry of Health issued an alert about an outbreak of dengue fever.

It came from the Chief Executive Officer, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, who feels that it is better to be prepared than to be sorry.

“So the main reason we are releasing this information is not to make our people panic but to advise and inform our people there is a dengue outbreak around,” he said. “We are seeing a lot of children being brought into the hospital. Children are prone to mosquitos because they play outside and we need to clean up to decrease the mosquitos population.

For the uninitiated, including visitors to this country, dengue is caused by mosquitoes.

 “The general symptoms are high fever, headache, severe pain, particularly the joint pains and the worse complication is bleeding and usually the bleeding kills people,” Leausa said. 

“It can be internal bleeding; or bleeding from your gums, you can be easily bruised, if there is bleeding into the lungs and the brain and it’s quite fatal and that is why we are concerned. 

“That is why it’s important to heed the prevention messages.” 

The best form of prevention according to Leausa is source reduction. And that’s where everyone has a role to play.

“We need to control the source, this is where the mosquitos breed and if we can control that then there will be no mosquitoes,” he added.

“We need to control the breeding sites. It comes down to you to clean around your house and look for anything that can store water, that is where the mosquitos will breed thousands of new adult mosquitos. We need to break the cycle.”

He went on to call for proper disposal of solid waste, cleaning of domestic water storage containers and applying of appropriate insecticides to outdoor water storage containers. 

He reminded about the need to be protected by using mosquito nets, long-sleeved clothes, insecticide-treated materials, coils and vaporizers and also spraying during outbreaks as one of the emergency vector-control measures. 

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to pay attention. 

Dengue fever is not new. Over the years, the mosquitoes-driven virus has brought illness and even death, with children the most vulnerable. And this is why we need to be careful especially given this wet weather.

The fact that dengue is here cannot be denied.

The good news is, which is also the message from the Ministry of Health is that proper hygiene and sanitation can go a long way in preventing the spread of this deadly disease.

We all have a part to play.

Here are other prevention tools from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) include:

• preventing mosquitoes from accessing egg-laying habitats by environmental management and modification;

• disposing of solid waste properly and removing artificial man-made habitats;

• covering, emptying and cleaning of domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis;

• applying appropriate insecticides to water storage outdoor containers;

• using of personal household protection such as window screens, long-sleeved clothes, insecticide treated materials, coils and vaporizers;

• improving community participation and mobilization for sustained vector control;

• applying insecticides as space spraying during outbreaks as one of the emergency vector-control measures;

• active monitoring and surveillance of vectors should be carried out to determine effectiveness of control interventions.

• Careful clinical detection and management of dengue patients can significantly reduce mortality rates from severe dengue

Stay safe out there Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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