Sat, 25 Mar 2000

Agency to distribute insecticide

JAKARTA (JP): The City Health Agency, stretched to contain an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, will distribute insecticide and continue fumigation in subdistricts with known high mosquito infestation.

Head of the agency's animal-related disease section Tini Suryanti said on Friday the plan was adopted because there were increasing reports of people suffering from the disease.

The agency recorded a total of 3,044 cases, with 16 fatalities, during the past three months. "The number of cases has tripled, while the number of fatalities is double the figure of the same period last year," Tini said.

Data also show that 55 subdistricts in the capital have been categorized as "sources" of dengue fever. "Our efforts to conduct fumigation and provide insecticide to kill mosquitoes' eggs in stagnant water will be focused on those areas."

She said the insecticide would be used in houses and public areas which were difficult to clean, such as abandoned residences and public facilities. "The insecticide will effectively kill the eggs for a period of three months."

The agency has allocated Rp 600 million for insecticide and Rp 1 billion for fumigation.

The insecticide, available at community health centers, will be dispensed free of charge to the public.

Tini urged the public to strengthen cooperation with officials in charge of public areas to take preventive measures, such as keeping the areas clean, to break the life cycle of the mosquitoes.

"All the insecticide won't do any good when garbage is still strewn all over, allowing mosquitoes to breed. Hence, we appeal to the general public to keep their living environment and areas clean."

She said cooperation was established with the City Land Transportation Agency, PD Pasar Jaya, which manages markets in the capital, and public offices to ensure the implementation of the "3M Movement". The preventative measures are the scrubbing and closing of household water tanks and buckets, and the burying of used cans.

She urged the public to follow the example of the East Java city of Sidoarjo, which has been successful in containing dengue without using insecticide.

"People in Sidoarjo worked together to reduce the cases of dengue and they did not depend on the use of insecticide," she said.

"Officials in West Jakarta are planning to issue two kinds of stickers to indicate whether a house owner has properly implemented the preventive measures."

The move is also expected to prod residents to clean up their areas because it will be their responsibility to prevent the spread of the disease.

Tini said the agency was also providing emergency beds in hospitals for dengue patients. "So far, we have helped Pondok Kopi Hospital with 70 beds."

The Ministry of Health earlier predicted the peak of the dengue outbreak would occur in April. (06)