By Sandun A. Jayasekera
A consignment of 10,000 units of BTI to be used as a biological means of controlling dengue will arrive in Sri Lanka in the next two weeks, the Cuban Ambassador in Sri Lanka Nirisia Castro Guevara said.
Ambassador Guevara, who is back in Colombo after a holiday in Cuba said the Anti Malaria Campaign, had opened the Letter of Credit some three weeks ago and the Cuban chemical factory had completed the manufacture of BTI.
“We opened an LC for Rs.30 million for the manufacture and import of BTI and the Cubans were to start production on the receipt of the funds and the production order. But the closure of the Cuban embassy has delayed the process. We are expecting their response and are keen to get down the BTI as early as possible,” Anti Malaria Campaign Director Dr. Sarath Deniyage said.
He said the BTI was being purchased as a government to government transaction and the Cuban embassy was handling the matter on behalf of Cuba.
Amid the number of dengue patients rising to 25,347 and dengue deaths to 186, the delay in the import of BTI has caused uneasiness among health authorities.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the 10,000 units of BTI would be used in a pilot project at Kandy, Gampola and Akurana before its use on a national level.
He said he would set up a separate department for the control and prevention of dengue.
“The new Dengue Control Department will use human and material resources of the now defunct Malaria Control Department. It will monitor and carry out all work relating to dengue prevention and control all round the year,” the minister said.
He said a cabinet memo will be submitted shortly in this regard and the department will be in place before the end of this year.