Current Affairs

Waging an all out war against the dengue menace

By M.Kula Segaran

Health Minister Datuk S Subramaniam told AFP yesterday that deaths from dengue fever have nearly tripled in Malaysia this year compared with the same period in 2013.

As of this week, 22 people had died from dengue in 2014, compared to eight deaths over the same stretch last year, he said.
A total of 11,879 cases had been reported as of Monday, up nearly four-fold from the same period in 2013. Despite the fact the government has taken various steps to fight against the spread of the disease, it is obvious that they have not been effective.

In fact, Subramaniam had on November 6 last year told the Parliament that the total number of dengue fever cases reported from January to November 2 last year rose more than 10,000 or more than 50% compared to 2012.

On November 5 last year, it was reported that Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, who heads the Health Ministry’s public health division, said the ministry was calling on all Malaysians to “destroy all the breeding places,” such as illegal dump sites.

He said prevention was key, due to the lack of proven vaccines or treatment.

“The problem with dengue is that we don’t have enough tools to manage the situation. It’s a global challenge,” he further said.
Subramanian needs to explain why has the Ministry failed to control the soaring dengue cases since last year.
What did Lokman mean when he said “we don’t have enough tools to manage the situation?
The same report said that Singapore had responded to its dengue problem by distributing insect repellant to every household and recruiting hundreds of disease-control officers. Has Malaysia’s Health Ministry done or is going to implement such measures?
Malaysians want government’s assurance that effective steps that will be taken to control the disease so as to prevent unnecessary and avoidable deaths. I call on the government to set up a special Cabinet Committee to wage an all out war against the dengue menace.

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