21/06/2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has launched an awareness campaign to combat the rise of dengue and to raise awareness of the public on how they can safeguard themselves from this epidemic.
According to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka, during the last 6 months of the year 2012, 12336 suspected dengue cases and 75 deaths have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit from all over the island.
Approximately 50.13% of dengue cases were reported from the Western province. The highest numbers of dengue cases were reported during the month of January.
This situation warrants regular removal of possible mosquito breeding sites from the environment. It is also important to seek medical attention in the event of fever by day three of the illness.
Red Cross Action
In this backdrop SLRCS has volunteered to support the Ministry of Health and its campaign to eradicate this epidemic. Under guidance from the Ministry SLRCS is sending volunteers to all areas that are prone towards dengue and to launch cleaning campaigns.
Steps have also been taken to strengthen the capacity and knowledge of village level committees in areas prone towards the epidemic.
“We are responding to the needs on the ground,” says Dr. Prithi Pandithiratne Health Specialist of SLRCS. “These needs have been raised by the Ministry of health in Sri Lanka. We are also launching an awareness campaign, by means of posters, hoarding and leaflets that would help the public in almost every part of the country”
Meanwhile over 100,000/- rupees have been deployed to 7 branches of SLRCS in order for them to carryout cleaning campaigns and awareness programmes in their respective districts.
The Director General of SLRCS Tissa Abeywickrama said, “These funds are for them to carry out work especially targeting dengue issues. We have given money to our branches in Matara, Kegalle, Badulla, Mannar, Colombo, Vavuniya & Jaffa. We are also planning on deploying this programme island wide, once we have proper funding”
The International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, German Red Cross & Canadian Red Cross has already pledged funding for this project.
Meanwhile the Red Cross will also launch a special educative programme targeting Schoolchildren Island wide. This programme will work in close coordination with the Ministry of Health.
More on dengue
We asked Dr. Priti Pandithiratne, Health Specialist of SLRCS as to how and what is dengue.
What are the symptoms of dengue?
If you think you have dengue what must you do?