Phuket dengue numbers critical, says public health chief

PHUKET: The chief of Phuket’s Public Health Office has admitted that the “333” anti-dengue campaign launched in April (story here) has failed and called for support to re-apply the program with more manpower after dengue cases in Phuket reached their highest number in 26 years.

“Everyone needs to be concerned about this,” Dr Bancha Kakhong told a meeting held yesterday to outline his plan to bring the disease under control in Phuket.

There have been 1,885 people infected in Phuket from January to September this year, he said. The number is more than three times the number of cases recorded in 2012 and two times higher than the last record year, 1987, when 900 cases were recorded.

Thalang is the hardest-hit district in Phuket, with 707 cases, he said.

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Two people died from dengue during the period.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut vowed to provide support for the new 333 program and ordered relevant departments to support Dr Bancha.

Present at the meeting were Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa, representatives of all hospitals in Phuket, district chiefs from all three Phuket districts, members of local organizations and community volunteers.

“We need the cooperation of every local government office to solve this problem,” Dr Bancha said.

“Right now, 50 people a week are being infected. We want to reduce the number to three per week,” he said.

As before, the campaign will be divided into three sections. In the first three days, officers will identify dengue patients in every area of Phuket and have them taken to hospital, he said.

“We have officers ready to inspect every area and we also have 2,000 cans of mosquito spray to distribute,” Dr Bancha said.

“We have to knock on every door,” Gov Maitri added, underlining the severity of the problem.

In the following three weeks, officers will spray identified dengue areas for mosquitoes, hand out anti-mosquito lotion, throw out standing water and teach people how to prevent the spread of dengue.

In the following three months officers will re-check every dengue risk area and follow up with dengue patients.

“During this process, we will show the number of infected people in real time on our website,” Dr Bancha said.

Governor Maitri will formally launch the new 333 campaign in Baan Laem Hin, Koh Kaew, tomorrow.

— Irfarn Jamdukor

Phuket News
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