By H.M.Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath
The control of dengue and the eradication of mosquitoes cannot be done solely by the health officials and public institutions, this effort also needs public cooperation said Dr. A.I. Jagoda the Regional Director of Health Services for the Colombo District speaking at the launch of a mobile phone application called MOzZapp.
He expressed these views at an event held to introduce the mobile application and to distribute related equipment free of charge to the Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) at the Ratmalana Sirimal Uyana MOH office auditorium.
The mobile application is a successful outcome of an agreement entered into by former Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Health of Ratmalana, Dr Indika Ellawala, Municipal Commissioner Dhammika Muthugala and Dehiwala – Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council one and half years ago along with the involvement of Citra Innovation Lab.
The launch of MOzZapp would streamline the dengue prevention and control in the Dehiwela Ratmalana areas.
Dr.Jagoda said MOzZapp would help prevent and control dengue by providing a better and immediate service to the Medical Officers of Health (MOH) offices in controlling the Dengue virus.
The launch ceremony was held under the guidance of the present Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ratmalana, Dr Jayalath Gunatilleke.
Explaining the benefits to be derived with the use of this app, Dr Jagoda said that this was the fourth app to be used in Sri Lanka to control Dengue and the previous apps showed no successful results.
“With this latest app, PHIs would be able to obtain vital information on suspected breeding sites of these dangerous mosquitoes. Dengue is caused by female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species these mosquitos breed in stagnating clean water such as rain water. If a mosquito bites a person infected with the dengue virus the virus enters the mosquito when the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that persons bloodstream. Information provided by the public regarding suspected breeding grounds such as shady places and abandoned lands etc will enable the PHIs to act immediately to destroy such breeding grounds by deploying a Dengue Control Unit and thereby contribute to the process of eradicating Dengue,” he said.
He said steps would be taken to implement this programme through the MOH offices throughout the
Meanwhile, the Dehiwala-Mt Lavinia Deputy Municipal Commissioner Lochana Balasuriya speaking at this event said that to get rid of mosquito breeding places, garbage disposal should be managed properly.
The Dehiwala - Mt Lavinia area once had the highest number of Dengue patients with a record number of deaths. I remember at that time the Municipal Commissioner Dhammika Muthugala and then Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ratmalana, Dr Indika Ellawala undertook a mammoth task to control the situation. I took over the rainwater drainage unit under my control and deployed more than 300 workers to clean the drainage system. Dr Ellawala visited and inspected houses in collaboration with the PHIs and the Dengue Control Unit of the Health Ministry. They were able to control Dengue within a short period and reduce the death toll. I believe that this programme would be pursued by the PHIs headed by the current Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jayalath Gunathilaka,” she said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Health of Ratmalana Dr Gunathilaka said that his predecessor Dr Indika Ellawala worked on the mobile app programme at research-level with the contribution of the Municipal Council and with the involvement of Citra Innovation Lab.
“Today, these efforts have borne fruit and we were able to launch the programme to the public. This can be considered a great step taken towards controlling Dengue. People should use the application wisely and responsibly without misusing it,” Dr Gunatilekea said.
The former CMO for Ratmalana and current Piliyandala Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Indika Ellawala said that they had come a long way in one and half years and were able to successfully launch this mobile application.
“Through this application, all the PHIs in Ratmalana get the opportunity to destroy Dengue breeding grounds easily. For the first time in Sri Lanka, the PHIs would eradicate Dengue in the area successfully using the information given by the public. the Media should give publicity to this application to popularise the concept among more users,” he said.
He said the complaints received through the app would be dealt with immediately and all complaints would be examined thoroughly and entered into a data system within three months.
“We are optimistic that this app will help in successfully controlling the dengue menace in the area and minimizing the number of deaths caused by dengue,” Dr Ellawala said.