Oman’s Ministry of Health has launched a campaign to eliminate dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Muscat.
“The message must be loud and clear: If we do not eradicate these mosquitoes in the specified time, the results will be disastrous to public health at the national level,” said Dr Ali Al Saidi, Minister of Health. Also read: 40 locally transmitted dengue cases reported in Oman
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Al Saidi spoke about the significant role of the public in eradicating the mosquito.
“The ministry and other authorities involved in this campaign will not be able to eradicate the mosquito without the support of the public.
“The authorities are already aware of the importance of this campaign and the dangers that would arise as a result of its disastrous consequences; now, it is time for the public to know.”
The two-week drive, which begins today, will run until January 21. It is being organised by the Ministry and Muscat Municipality, in addition to 1,000 local community leaders as volunteers.
“The preservation of public health is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Health or the Muscat Municipality, but it is also the responsibility of every citizen and resident,” he said.
Unlike other mosquitos, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is dangerous because it transports not just one, but many other diseases, some of which are dangerous, such as yellow fever.
“This campaign will be different from the other campaigns we have launched because it will require us to enter people’s homes, businesses, and farms,” added Al Saidi.
The authorities have launched this campaign in order to contain and eradicate the mosquito to stop it from spreading to other parts of the Sultanate.
“We must combine efforts and work together to eradicate this mosquito before it spreads outside Muscat. If it spreads outside Muscat, geographically, it will be harder to contain,” Al Saidi said.
“This is the first time that the Aedes aegypti was spotted in the northern areas of the Sultanate. Additionally, diseases transmitted by this mosquito were not transmitted locally before December 2018 and were usually related to travel.”
“When the first case was discovered, the authorities at the Ministry of Health and Muscat Municipality, among other government bodies, carried out an inspection survey of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to investigate the possibility of local transmission of the dengue fever virus. However, it was revealed that the mosquito had spread further than expected,” said Al Saidi.
He was “optimistic” that this campaign will be successful due to “previous experiences we have had with other campaigns when nearly all the people were helpful and cooperative”.
Hilal Al Sarmi, Shura council member representative of wilayat Seeb, told Times of Oman, “Since the campaign will begin from Seeb on Tuesday, my message to all residents of the area is to cooperate with the Ministry of Health, the Muscat Municipality and the volunteers. The size of this campaign is enough for all citizens and resident to realise its importance.”
“The mosquito has spread faster than expected and therefore efforts to stop it must be strong and firm. It is everyone’s duty to help and to open their doors because this campaign is being conducted for their safety and protection,” added Al Sarmi.
Authorities previously had trouble accessing certain properties; therefore, the ministry is aiming to increase awareness of the campaign so that more people will cooperate.