Despite the record spread of dengue fever this year, Bangladesh is yet to form a vector control centre and integrated vector guideline, both of which are essential to control vector-borne diseases.
Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, lice and various other insects.
“A national vector control guideline and its proper implementation is very important to control Aedes mosquito,” said Prof Kabirul Bashar, an entomologist of Jahangirnagar University.
He said a separate institute for mosquito control is also very important. It would also help with research on the matter and provide helpful information to authorities concerned.
Research is needed not only on mosquitoes, but other kinds of vectors such as sandflies (which spreads black fever), and bed bugs, he said.
Bashar said, in the meantime local government organisations would have to continue their drives against Aedes mosquito at least till the end of October.
An official of local government division (LGD) said a team from World Health Organisation (WHO) visited recently and provided technical advice to both city corporations of Dhaka and LGD. The WHO team will submit a report to LGD by this month, outlining the proper way of integrated vector management (IVM).
“We are now working to prepare an IVM strategy for the whole country and also preparing an institutional framework for it. WHO’s report will help us,” said the official.
He said they are also planning to strengthen the activities of department of mosquito control, which is now in a shabby state.
Md Mahbub Hossain, additional secretary of LGD, recently told the Daily Star that as the huge spread of dengue was new in the country, city corporations were still figuring out their approach.
He said they have sought masterplans from every city corporation of the country regarding mosquito control activities.
Meanwhile, Line Director of Communicable Disease Control at Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Sanya Tahmina said they organised an integrated vector management (IVM) preparation workshop on Sunday involving entomologists and other stakeholders.
“We will start working on the IVM management guideline soon,” she said.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon said they want to prepare a five-year development project to control Aedes mosquito.
Under the project, an integrated research centre for communicable disease control will be constructed under a separate department, he said. “We will appoint necessary manpower, including entomologists, to conduct research and take steps accordingly,” he said.
It will take around 10 days to complete the development project proposal and work will begin after the Executive Committee of National Economic Council approves it, he said.
Regarding the lack of drives against Aedes mosquito, the mayor said the drives had slowed down, but it would start in full swing soon, and will continue throughout the year.
Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Atiqul Islam said they were planning to allocate a separate budget to control Aedes mosquito.
“Experts like entomologists and doctors have been working to prepare a master plan for IVM, which will be completed shortly,” said Atiq.
He said they were also going to introduce a monitoring system by a team of entomologists from outside the corporation.
These teams will inspect mosquito control drives of DNCC each month and provide reports, Atiq added.