'An inter-sectoral collaboration is key to control and prevent the outbreak of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya, in particular during the currently prevailing cyclonic and rainy season'.
The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, made this statement this morning, at the inter-sectoral meeting on Vector-Borne Diseases held under his chairmanship at the Caudan Arts Centre in Port-Louis. Representatives of various Ministries and other key stakeholders attended the meeting.
The Minister highlighted that Mauritius being a tropical country is considerably vulnerable to outbreaks and proliferation of vector-borne diseases. Mosquitoes, he pointed out, are one of the deadliest insects in the world due to their ability to carry and spread diseases to humans. Mosquito-borne diseases, he added, cause millions of deaths every year, with malaria being the cause of 438 000 deaths in 2015 while the worldwide incidence of dengue has risen thirty-fold in the past 30 years.
Moreover, Dr Jagutpal indicated that both the massive inflow of tourists and Mauritians travelling abroad can bring in imported cases of vector-borne diseases. Hence, the necessity of additional vigilance and control of passengers arriving from epidemic prone countries, he stated.
Government, the Minister emphasised, is ensuring that there is a proper planning for logistics to effectively monitor and control the situation across Mauritius, notably in high-risks areas. He dwelt on the series of preventive measures being taken by various parties including the disease surveillance system, the Central Health Laboratory, the Communicable Diseases Control Unit, the Vector Biology and Control division, and the Health Inspectorate Cadre.
Each stakeholder, recalled Dr Jagutpal, is required to implement measures in his respective sector. This can be achieved namely through the mobilisation of workforce and resources to engage in activities including cleaning campaigns, detecting and reporting suspected cases, awareness campaigns, and the dissemination of information as regards precautions to be taken.
According to the Minister, it is critical that there is a multisectoral collaboration as well as community participation for an effective and sustainable control of vector-borne diseases. He also spoke about the existing legal framework pertaining to the control of vector-borne diseases including penalty fees against offenders, the Environment Protection Act 2002 and the Public Health Act (Section 48), that will help to deal with potential outbreaks of vector-borne diseases.