Tuesday, September 6, 2016

See: Set up state cabinet committee to keep Zika at bay

KUCHING: A state cabinet committee should be set up immediately to prevent an outbreak of Zika in Sarawak.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How, who made the suggestion, said the panel should include personnel from all relevant ministries, departments and local councils.

“While it is essential for the Ministry of Health and airport authorities to vigilantly carry out vector control measures at international entry points, the finding of a  now deceased Sabahan patient being infected by a locally transmitted Zika virus is most alarming,” See told The Borneo Post yesterday.

The Sabah case is the first locally-transmitted Zika infection in the country. The 61-year-old Dusun man from Taman Public Jaya Likas died at 5.30pm on last Saturday from heart-related complications.

See, who is also PKR state vice-chairman, also urged the state government to take notice of international health reports on the need to destroy mosquito breeding grounds immediately.

“It is my fear that any outbreak of the disease will quickly become endemic.”

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, added See, should also promptly set aside funds for vector control measures at residential areas, construction sites, public parks, wet markets and illegal dump sites.

“Through all local government authorities, contractors entrusted to carry out grass cutting and clearing of drains should be told to carry out one round of their jobs within the next one week to eliminate all possible Aedes mosquito breeding sites.”

At the same time, the Health Department should assist local government authorities to carry out fogging extensively.

“It is also opportune for the designated cabinet committee to initiate and engage residents and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to carry out preventive vector control activities,” said See.

“The ministries, departments and local government authorities should be equipped and be ready to assist community efforts to clean and stamp out mosquito breeding grounds.”

See also noticed that there had been a rise in the number of abandoned houses and vacant land, and these places are potential hotbeds for this disease.

“Local government authorities should step up their efforts to order remedial efforts from the proprietors and to take stern actions against the offenders.”

See also made an urgent plea to the public to keep their family members, home, neighbourhood and state safe.

“Even within the compound of our homes, there are possible places for mosquitoes to breed. For example, flower vases, flower pot holders, upturned pails and clogged drains.

“An effort by every family to eliminate all possible breeding grounds within their houses will go a long way in creating a neighbourhood that is safe from the Zika virus.”

~ Borneo Post

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