Deeply concerned that the Bhutanese public are anxious about the recent outbreak of Dengue Fever in Tashi Yangtse and Phuntsholing, the Ministry of Health led by Her Excellency Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo held a Press Conference at the Ministry of Health this morning.
At the conference, the Ministry of Health assured that all possible preventive measures are being implemented in the affected areas. The Department of Public Health reported that due to the relentless efforts of the health workers and concerned program officials, the Aedes Container Index has now been brought down to 4.9% from 19% which was the highest recorded during the peak outbreak period. It was also reported that the number of cases in the affected areas have been significantly reduced over the past couple of weeks proving the effectiveness of MoH’s interventions.
Acknowledging the shortage of Rapid Dengue Diagnostic Test Kits in a few facilities, the media was informed that all health facilities (BHU Grade I and above) are equipped with facilities for vital lab tests (complete blood count) which is crucial for monitoring the health status of dengue patients.
The ministry reiterated that MOH is not alone in the fight against dengue and other seasonal mosquito-borne diseases, and that the general public and other sectors have a huge responsibility to play. Prime amongst which is to ensure that surroundings of homes, schools, settlements and businesses are clean and there are no stagnated water in drains, discarded containers, disposed vehicle tyres and other medium of storage. The ministry also informed that people, particularly those living in warmer places, must wear long sleeves and pants, and ensure that mosquito nets are used at all times during the summer and monsoon seasons.
18 out of the 20 districts in the country are conducive for mosquitoes to thrive and breed. Taking due note of this fact, the Department of Public Health warned that Bhutan could see similar large scale outbreaks in the future and requested the general public to take due heed of MOH’s preventive messages.
While focus up until now was on the containment of malaria; the ministry informed that emphasis will now be made on source reduction, strengthening early warning systems and institutionalizing cross border mechanisms to control the spread of dengue fever.
Picture courtesy of BBS