13 May 2013

Call in Solomons for national taskforce on dengue

10:35 am on 13 May 2013

The Solomon Islands health ministry wants the government to endorse a national taskforce to deal with an outbreak of dengue fever that has killed six people in the capital, Honiara.

The permanent secretary Dr Lester Ross says the outbreak is the worst the country has experienced and has required his ministry to dip into reserve coffers.

The mosquito-borne disease is thought to have infected almost four thousand people but rapid diagnostic testing has confirmed the illness in one thousand.

Dr Ross says a lot of work has been done to clean up rubbish, which is a breeding ground for mosquitos, but there is still much more to be done and it is beyond the scope of the health ministry.

"We need the Honiara City Council, the people in environment, finance, prime minister's office and these sort of people to come and be part of the national taskforce to really address the roots causes of this problem."

Dr Lester Ross says the ministry is also waiting for the government to respond to its request for an extra 350,000 US dollars to cover additional costs such as spraying and rubbish collection.