Wolbachia pilot programme launched | Daily News


 

Wolbachia pilot programme launched

PILOT PROJECT LAUNCH: Australian High Commissioner David Holly, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni and health officials during the launch of the programme. (INSET)Wolbachia bacteria containers. Pictures by Thushara Fernando

PILOT PROJECT LAUNCH: Australian High Commissioner David Holly, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni and health officials during the launch of the programme. (INSET)Wolbachia bacteria containers. Pictures by Thushara Fernando

The pilot project of using Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes to control dengue in Sri Lanka was launched at the Nugegoda Ananda Samarakoon Open Air Theatre yesterday. This is a biological (natural) vector control method.

The pilot project will be implemented in the Nugegoda, Mattakkuliya and Kotahena areas and then extended to the other parts of the country after observing the success of the programme for a period of one year. Wolbachia had been successfully used in 13 other countries in the world including Australia. Under the method, the capsules are dropped  in the mozzie boxes filled with some water. The boxes are then placed in shady places outside buildings, hung on tree branches or kept on the ground. The mosquito eggs develop and the mosquitoes fly out from the boxes releasing Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes into the environment. Each box is replaced by a new once in every two weeks.

Australian High Commissioner David Holly said that Australia is pleased to support the partnership between the World Mosquito Programme and the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine. The Wolbachia method was first introduced into the Australian city of Cairns in 2011 and it was a great success and no local dengue transmission has been confirmed since then. Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that dengue has been affecting Sri Lanka since the 1980s and dengue increases in Sri Lanka each alternative year. But the death rate has drastically gone down due to several steps taken in order to improve the treatment.

“I wish to thank the past and present Australian Ambassadors for their assistance in this endeavour,” he added.

National Dengue Control Programme Director Dr. Aruna Jayasekara and many others also spoke. Health staff, officials and others were present on the occasion. 


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