Racing to curb dengue spread

And they're off: Dr Hilmi firing the pistol to start off the Dengue Busters Charity Run recently.

MORE THAN 1,000 participants turned up for the Dengue Busters Charity Run recently, a 5km run to increase awareness on the epidemic while raising RM130,000 to fund the “X Prize”, an invention to trap mosquitoes.

The event, organised by Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur Diraja, was supported by the Health Ministry as well as tech companies Huawei and Redtone.

Aside from the open categories for men and women, there was also a 1km family run.

Present to flag-off the event was Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who also participated in the 1km run.

The run started at 8.45am from Bukit Jalil Golf And Country Resort and looped through the Bukit Jalil Recreational Park.

For the winner of the women’s Open category, Noor Amelia Musa, 28, the run served as training for an upcoming athletics event.

“Even a short run like this helps me train” said the policewoman, who completed 5km in 18 minutes 57 seconds.

Karthik Jayaraman, 25, reached the finish line in just over 19 minutes to come in first first for the men’s Open category.

“Although it is only 5km, it is still a battle when you have veterans and top runners in the race,” said Karthik.

The “X Prize”, a project being developed by Rotary Club, is a series of cash rewards for inventors of the most innovative and effective mosquito trap in the fight against dengue.

The club’s youth service director and Redtone managing director Datuk Wei Chuan Beng said the X-Prize would be officially launched in the next three months.

“The race managed to raise RM130,000, above our original target of RM120,000, and once we launch, we are accepting proposals until Dec 31,” said Wei.

Speaking after the race, Dr Hilmi said the ministry was registering about 1,700 dengue cases a week nationwide.

“Selangor is the worst affected, especially since there are so many construction sites that make it convenient for Aedes mosquitoes to breed. Therefore, we need to engage everyone in this fight,” he said.

He added that the ministry was despatching Communicate for Behavioural Impact teams throughout the country to better educate citizens, through local citizens’ bodies, on how to prevent mosquito breeding.

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