Feb 14, Colombo: A team of dengue experts from the European Union has arrived in Sri Lanka to conduct a surveillance study on the dengue epidemic, the Ministry of Health said.
The team led by Prof. J. Gubler of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore includes specialists from Heidelberg University in Germany, Umea University in Sweden, and Boston University in USA.
The team of specialists had held discussions with the officials of the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry on the European Union -funded Dengue Disease Surveillance Project (DDSP).
The European Union (EU) has agreed to provide 1.1 million Euro (169 million rupees) over the next four years to implement the project.
Due to the increasing spread of dengue in the world, the European Commission has decided to provide funding support to set up a multi-country project in the developing countries.
The Cabinet last month approved the project proposal submitted by the Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena for the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry to carry out a four-year surveillance project supporting healthcare system capacity building, and to develop an early warning system for Dengue in the country.
The project aims to detect and identify areas with a high risk of dengue spread and identify dengue patients early.
Since Western Province, especially Colombo district, records the highest dengue prevalence, the program will be conducted at two hospitals in Colombo, namely the National Hospital and the Lady Ridgeway Pediatric Hospital, and at the Homagama Hospital.
The Medical Research Institute (MRI) has been designated as the National Quality Assurance Laboratory (NQAL) to test the blood samples of suspected dengue patients.
During last year 28,137 cases of dengue and 185 deaths due to the disease have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit from all over the island.
So far this year, 4,611 cases of dengue and 21 deaths due to the disease have been reported to the Epidemiology Unit.