July 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne commended the media institutions for helping in the island wide dengue eradication program launched by the Ministry.
"I appreciate all media institutions for setting aside their commercial interests and contributing to the dengue eradication activities today," the Minister said.
He said that if the Health Ministry tried to raise public awareness this way it would have cost the Ministry millions of rupees but the media institutions are doing it for free.
The Minister expressed these sentiments participating in the dengue eradication program launched in China Fort area of Beruwela in the Kalutara district on Saturday under the patronage of the Minister.
The second phase of the national dengue mosquito eradication program under the theme "Let's start ourselves - Join to eradicate dengue" commenced from the Western Province on Saturday (15).
Expressing his views, the Minister said although non-communicable diseases are a serious threat, dengue is a major challenge now.
The Minister noted that while the number of dengue patients has increased, the Ministry of Health has been able to restrict the deaths to 0.3 percent of the reported. This shows that efficient treatment of the disease is maintained by the Ministry.
A delegation from World health organization (WHO) visited the country and studied the situation. They have submitted an action plan to reduce the number of patients by 50 percent within four weeks. The Minister added that the WHO had also pledged financial support for the action plan and it was this action plan the Ministry is implementing presently.
According to the request of the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Mass Media and Information, Mangala Samaraweera, summoned heads of state and private media institutions, and initiated the program to educate the public on the dengue menace, Dr. Senaratne said.
He said Dengue cannot be eradicated by the Health Ministry alone and the masses need to be educated and empowered.
After the inaugural ceremony, the Minister joined the members of the Tri-Forces, Police personnel and health workers in inspecting the houses to detect and destroy mosquito breeding places.