KUNAK: The Malaysian Ministry of Health (MMH) has introduced the ‘One Hour Malaysia Clean Up’ initiative to reduce cases and the risk of death from dengue fever in the country.
The Minister of Community Development and People’s Welfare, Datuk James Ratib, said that the initiative aims to destroy the breeding grounds of the aedes mosquito which is carried out consistently.
It is a monthly activity that is every Saturday of the fourth week of every month.
“Government agencies, private sector, communities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are encouraged to jointly make the ‘One Hour Malaysia Clean Up’ initiative a monthly activity,” he said.
According to James, it follows the fact that the state recorded 5,119 cases of dengue fever as of last September 2 or an estimate according to the epidemic week (epid.35).
The number increased by 48.2 percent compared to the same period last year which was 3,453 cases.
During that period, there were seven confirmed deaths due to dengue with Sandakan district recording three cases, Kunak(2) and one case each in Penampang and Kudat.
He said this while officiating the launch of the One Hour Malaysia Clean Up’ and Mega Cooperation Program to Fight Aedes 2.0 at the Sabah State level, at the PPR Sri Pangkalan Housing Estate, near here, Saturday.
The text of his speech was read by his assistant, Datuk Flovia Ng.
James said, the Ministry of Health also introduced the Gotong-royong Mega Fight Aedes initiative which will be held twice a year with the involvement of all agencies and community participation in efforts to eliminate breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.
“In Sabah, Gotong Royong Mega Warangi Aedes 1.0 has already been implemented on June 17 in Kampung Tebobon, Kota Kinabalu.
“In conjunction with the ‘One Hour Malaysia Clean Up’ program today (in Kunak) is the Gotong Royong Mega Fight Aedes 2.0.
“The most basic prevention is to clean and destroy containers that have the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” he said.
He added that until the week of the epidemic (epid.34), 1,404 total compound recommendations had been issued with an estimated total value of RM692,800.
“(However), it is not the compound issue that is the measure, but all parties play a role in combating dengue and it is a joint task, especially among the community, and not just putting that responsibility on the shoulders of the agencies involved,” he said.
According to Sabah State Health Department records, James said, five districts in the state recorded the highest number of dengue cases, namely Sandakan with 1,312 cases, followed by Kota Kinabalu (947), Tawau (874), Lahad Datu (512) and Putatan (224).
In this regard, he said the data obtained from the field showed that the breeding ground for aedes mosquito larvae was caused by the habits and attitudes of individuals who could not maintain the environment to be free from containers that could cause mosquitoes to breed.
Therefore, it is important for every member of society at all levels to be concerned about that matter.
“The risk of infection that can cause death and suffering due to dengue fever is also exposed to neighbors, whether among the elderly, children, or those who lack immunity or resistance to disease, including those who have morbidities such as high blood pressure and urinary
sweet,” he said.
James also appreciates the involvement of government agencies, private companies, NGOs, local community leaders, especially the MyChampion Combi volunteers who are also the main drivers of voluntary and continuous dengue prevention activities.
Meanwhile, Dr Maria said, the involvement of MyChampion Combi volunteers as agents of community behavior change will be empowered to help prevent and control dengue.
“It is understood that up to 31 August, a total of 3,332 MyChampion Combi volunteer teams have been established with the participation of 31,239 volunteers from communities all over the country.
“MyChampion Combi needs to continue to be empowered so that they can play a role as community influencers in helping the Malaysian Ministry of Health carry out dengue prevention activities, especially involving the participation of the local community such as joint efforts to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds
aedes,” he said.
In the program, mega cooperation activities were carried out with residents in several residential areas around Kunak district, including seaside settlements.
Also present at the ceremony was Deputy State Health Director (Public Health) Dr. Maria Suleiman representing the Sabah Health Director, Dr. Asits Sanna, Kunak District Officer, Awang Mohd Yusof, senior officials of the Ministry of Health, federal and state government officials, as well as the surrounding residents.