JOHOR BARU: Bicycle and van squads will be going around residential areas to monitor cleanliness and promote health awareness in view of the rise in dengue fever cases, said state health committee chairman Halimah Sidique.
She said the campaign, adopted from a programme designed by the World Health Organisation called Communications for Behavioural Impact (Combi), was aimed at changing public mentality in maintaining personal hygiene and clean surroundings.
The squads, comprising health and local authorities personnel and volunteers, would be on the look out for unclean surroundings while on their campaign trail to educate the public, she said.
Halimah added the state currently had 56 teams of Combi squads and the programme would expand further as community involvement improved.
“It is not enough to rely solely on the health department to educate the public and maintain the cleanliness of surroundings to curb dengue from spreading.
“It is also not enough to just look after one's own home. The neighbourhood has to work together to prevent mosquitoes from breeding due to unkempt surroundings.
“Hopefully, apart from creating better civic consciousness among the locals, the campaign would also be an effective machinery to curb dengue,” she told reporters after attending state exco meeting yesterday.
Halimah disclosed that last year, dengue cases reported in Johor increased by 68% to 3,952 cases with 20 deaths compared to the previous year of 2,345 cases with 12 deaths.
She added that the district of Johor Baru registered the most number of cases and established residential areas, including Bandar Baru Uda, Taman Universiti, Taman Johor Jaya and Taman Kota Masai, had been identified as sensitive areas.
Among the steps taken by the health department were providing fogging services for some 300,000 homes and issuing some 1,200 compound notices to errant parties, she said.
“Survey by the health department revealed that places like abandoned construction sites and houses, illegal dumping sites with items that retained waters are among the breeding grounds.
“One of our biggest challenges is the public's habit of littering,” she said.
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