There was wide
publicity and some concerted action at the height of the dengue
epidemic a few months ago. Though media attention and preventive
action on the part of the health authorities were lacking at the
onset of the epidemic the very scale of the epidemic called for
However, with the end of the rainy season the authorities
gleefully reported the declining incidence of dengue and
declared that the epidemic is on the wane. In fact, much
publicity was given to its decline than its outbreak.
However, there is nothing to feel shy. Dengue epidemic has
become a recurring phenomenon given our weather and public
apathy and indifference.
With the incessant rains during the past few weeks, dengue
fever is fast spreading again. There are no signs that the
authorities and the public are yet aware of it. At least no
concerted action is seen yet.
While it is not possible to control the disease completely,
it is possible to reduce or minimize its occurrence by effective
quick action. As we emphasised in this column on an earlier
occasion dengue eradication needs a holistic approach. No single
remedy is available. Though the use of BTI is effective, it has
to be applied in collaboration with a mass-scale environment
cleaning campaign to get the optimum results.
The incidence of dengue in Sri Lanka is still at a high level
and hence there is the need for a massive drive to kill the
dengue vector. This could be best done by aerial spraying of BTI.
It was reported that the Government has decided to import the
Cuban BTI and also get Cuban assistance for spraying. The
Cabinet is said to have approved funds for the same.
However, nothing is heard after that. The Daily News
understands that the Cuban BTI has also been registered here
according to the regulations. The Cuban experts who came about
three months ago are still here. It is necessary to act without
delay as another round of the epidemic could break again.
It is no secret that there was resistance to the introduction
of the Cuban BTI by vested interests. Even the Report of the
Cuban experts was subjected to scrutiny by a panel of local
This Expert Report on the Expert Report has been accepted
more than a month ago. What is needed is quick action for the
rains would not wait. Nor would the mosquitoes stop breeding.
This is the third time that Sri Lanka has sought Cuban help.
On two previous occasions too their experts came but the project
was abandoned. This time, the people expect some tangible
The BIG two meet
Obama is on a three-day visit to China. He arrived there on
November 15 after participating in a meeting of the APEC
grouping. It is also the first visit of President Obama to China
after assuming office.
Naturally a meeting of the world's two giants would attract
world attention. China is a rising power on the world stage. It
is the second largest economy after the US. In the near future
it is expected to overcome the US and reach the number one
The world expects its two giant nations to co-operate in the
interests of humanity. President Obama stated yesterday that the
US does not seek to contain China and is seeking a deeper
relationship with China. This augurs well for both countries and
the world in general.
As Obama stressed the rise of a strong, prosperous China can
be a source of strength for the community of nations.
The meeting is expected to focus on peace and security in the
Asian region, the issue of nuclear power development in the
People's Republic of Korea and issues inked with climate change
with especial reference to the Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen in early December.
The two countries have far too intimate economic relations
that forbid any confrontation approach.
It is well-known China is the biggest creditor of the US. On
the other hand, the US is its largest trade partner. The US
could ill-afford to lose the vast Chinese market. Nor could
China benefit from a weak dollar as it has invested heavily in
US treasury bills.
The changed world balance of forces also precludes a
confrontation. Therefore one could expect a positive outcome
from this big two meeting.