Colombo, July 20 (newsin.asia) – Australia has pledged to combat the dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka by partnering with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Australia’s prestigious Monash University and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health, Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced here Wednesday evening.
Addressing a media briefing in Colombo during her two day official visit, Bishop said the WHO will be provided a grant of 58 million Sri Lankan rupees to immediately implement intensive dengue prevention and control measures.
“Australia’s $500,000 contribution to WHO will support the implementation of a comprehensive Dengue Prevention and Control Plan to enhance hospital triage and case management, cleaning, public awareness and surveillance systems,” Bishop said.
“Working with Sri Lankan health authorities and other partners, the objective will be to reduce transmission of dengue and thereby the incidence by more than 50 percent over a period of 4 to 6 weeks in high risk districts of the country.”
Bishop also launched the Australian government’s partnership between Monash University’s ‘Eliminate Dengue Program’ and Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health to reduce the incidence of dengue in Sri Lanka.
Monash University’s ‘Eliminate Dengue Program’ is pioneering the use of the Wolbachia bacteria to reduce rates of dengue infection. Wolbachia prevents the dengue virus being transmitted between people, and it has a similar effect on other viruses such as zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.
There have been close to 100,000 people in Sri Lanka infected by the dengue virus this year and over 250 people killed, in the worst possible outbreak to hit the island country in recent years.
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, appreciated Australia’s assistance and vowed to work closely to combat the dengue virus in the island country.