PETALING JAYA, Nov 8, 2015:

The nation today undertook a massive community self-help (gotong royong) clean-up spearheaded by the Health Ministry to get rid of breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquito which has spread dengue that claimed 282 lives so far this year.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam launched the clean-up in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara here under the exercise that covered all the states and federal territories, except Malacca and Johor. These two states will carry out the programme later.

The ministry’s programme covered 15 dengue hotspots in the country, focusing on idle land or plots with rubbish pile-up that had contributed to 18% of the Aedes mosquito breeding grounds nationwide.

“For occupied these land or plots, we have issued notice to the owners to clean up their areas. If they do not comply, these areas will be cleaned up with the help of the local authorities,” Dr Subramaniam told reporters after launching the mega gotong royong.

He said several government agencies also carried out the programme at their own facilities, such as the Malaysian Armed Forces at their camps, the police at their quarters and the People’s Volunteer Corps at Rela training centres.

“The Department of National Unity and Integration coordinated the gotong royong activity at 222 children’s nurseries and rukun tetangga sectors under its jurisdiction,” he said.

The gotong royong included clearing heaps of rubbish, inspecting building sites, removing abandoned vehicles, undertaking larviciding — an ecologically safe preventive method used to interrupt the development of larvae or pupa into adult mosquitoes — fogging and giving health awareness tips to the community.

Dr Subramanian said the programme was launched in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara because the hotspot had two deaths and 372 dengue cases this year up to Oct 31, which was higher by 128% compared to the corresponding period last year.

For the whole country, the number of deaths this year as of Oct 31 was 282 with 102,217 cases, up from 162 deaths and 86,192 cases last year, he said.

In PUTRAJAYA, Communications and Multimedia Ministry deputy secretary-general (operations) Datuk Che Azemi Haron launched the gotong royong programme at the al-Ikhwan Desa surau in Pinggiran Putra.

He said such exercises, besides cleaning up the surroundings and getting rid of the Aedes mosquito breeding grounds, brought the ministry staff and people closer together.

In TERENGGANU, 350 people, among them staff of the Terengganu Health Department, nursing college students, schoolchildren and residents of Kampung Masjid Haji Kadir near Pasir Panjang, Kuala Terengganu, took part in the gotong royong.

Terengganu Health (public health) deputy director Dr Mohd Jusoh said the exercise was also held at all the 46 health clinics in the state with the help of the people in the localities.

In SARAWAK, state legislative assembly deputy speaker Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn officiated at the programme participated by about 500 people of Kampung Chupak, Kampung Sikuduk, Kampung Pelaman Payang and Kampung Riset as well as government employees in Serian.

Seven areas in Sarawak had recorded 1,676 cases of dengue so far this year, he said at the event which was also attended by state health director Datuk Zulkifli Jantan.

In NEGERI SEMBILAN, state health director Dr Abdul Rahim Abdullah said the exercise held at Taman Penaga 2 in Sikamat was aimed at reducing the number of dengue cases to a level that did not pose a threat to public health.

He said there was a rise in the number of dengue haemorrhagic fever cases, with 17 cases and 12 deaths this year compared to seven cases and seven deaths last year.

However, the number of dengue cases had dropped from 3,264 last year to 1,989 this year, down by 39.1%.

In PERAK, 300 people participated in the clean-up at two places, Jalan Besar Ayer Tawar and Kampung Tersusun Batu 7, Lekir, in the Manjung district.

It was launched by Manjung district officer Mohamad Fariz Mohamad Hanip at the basketball court of Kampung Koh New Village.

In SABAH, about 100 people took part in the programme in Kampung Tanjung Batu Darat Imam Jalilul in Tawau.

Tawau district officer Yusri Umasa said the gotong royong was held in the village because of dengue cases there recently.

“This year up to today, the Tawau health department has recorded 139 cases,” he told Bernama.

He said a similar exercise would be held in Merotai Besar located about 20 kilometres from Tawau.

In PAHANG, state health, human resource and special functions committee chairman Datuk Norol Azali Sulaiman advised the people to practise good neighbourliness to facilitate the fight against the Aedes mosquito.

Norol Azali launched the gotong royong exercise at the Sungai isap 1 field in Kuantan.

Pahang recorded 2,329 dengue cases this year up to Oct 31, an increase of 840 cases from the 1,489 last year.

Kuantan had the highest number of cases among the districts in Pahang, with 1,338.

In PERLIS, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man launched the exercise in Kampung Padang Besar Selatan in Kuala Perlis.

He said Perlis saw a drop in the number of dengue cases, from 210 in the first 10 months of last year to 180 this year, but added that the number could be slashed further if the people were serious in fighting the Aedes mosquito.

More than 500 people of Kampung Padang Besar Selatan took part in the exercise. Also present were Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya and State Health Committee chairman Jafperi Othman.

In KELANTAN, more than 300 people participated in the programme held in Taman Transit, Panji, Kota Baru, after it was launched by Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

State health director Datuk Ahmad Razin Ahmad Mahir said many cases of dengue had been reported in the housing estate.

He said efforts were carried out to fight the Aedes mosquito although the number of dengue cases in the state had dropped drastically, from 13,594 in 2014 to 2,410 so far this year.

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