Safety and protection is better than sorry

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Put it this way. The rain is a blessing for many families featured in the Village Voice who do not have access to running water. 

So that during the past two days, they would’ve welcomed the precious onslaught of heaven’s gift to mankind with the sky opening up for a much-welcomed downpour. 

It’s fair to say therefore that the onslaught of precious rain has been much welcomed by people who need them the most. Today in Samoa, lush green has returned and the once sun-scorched earth is drenched thoroughly to its neck with this place once again brimming with fantastic life, invigorating growth. 

But there is a slight problem. With the rain comes its own set of challenges.

Away from the usual such as flooding in low-lying places, heavy rains usually means the proliferation of mosquitoes. 

And today in Samoa, we have a real reason to be concerned.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health issued an alert about an outbreak of dengue fever in the country. The alert follows 25 positive cases of dengue, with two of them suspected to have led to deaths. 

Although these cases are still being investigated, the Ministry of Health is not taking any chances. This week the National Disease Surveillance and International Health Regulations Division immediately mobilized to raise the alarm bells.

According to them, they have noted a sudden increase in cases with common signs and symptoms such as prolonged Illness over several days with severe headaches; nausea and vomiting; abdominal pains; fevers of over 3 days duration; generalized body weakness and more.

What do they point to? 

Dengue fever obviously.

The virus is not new. Over the years, the mosquitoes-driven virus have brought illness and even death, with children the most vulnerable. And this is why we need to be careful especially given this wet weather.

The fact that dengue is here cannot be denied.

What we can cannot to fight the virus is keep away the mosquitoes from our loved ones by killing them and destroying their breeding sites.

According to the Ministry of Health, the best solution is to advocate for general hygiene in the homes and source reduction of mosquito breeding sites.

This refers to draining long-standing water and cleaning up rubbish around living areas. 

In other words, we need to ward off mosquitoes by getting rid of their breeding sites. This means keeping surroundings clean, especially in areas frequented by children. We need to get rid of discarded containers, old tires, any receptacle for stagnant water must be disposed of properly. 

The point is that proper hygiene and sanitation can go a long way in preventing the spread of this deadly disease.

Other prevention tools from the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) include:

• preventing mosquitoes from accessing egg-laying habitats by environmental management and modification;

• disposing of solid waste properly and removing artificial man-made habitats;

• covering, emptying and cleaning of domestic water storage containers on a weekly basis;

• applying appropriate insecticides to water storage outdoor containers;

• using of personal household protection such as window screens, long-sleeved clothes, insecticide treated materials, coils and vaporizers;

• improving community participation and mobilization for sustained vector control;

• applying insecticides as space spraying during outbreaks as one of the emergency vector-control measures;

• active monitoring and surveillance of vectors should be carried out to determine effectiveness of control interventions.

• Careful clinical detection and management of dengue patients can significantly reduce mortality rates from severe dengue

So there you have folks, stay safe!

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