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Stricter enforcement, hefty fines to combat dengue

KUALA LUMPUR, 16 June 2009: The health ministry is intensifying its war on dengue through stricter enforcement, including hefty fines for the culprits, and by expanding educational programmes to reach more target groups, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.

Liow said the move would include imposing immediate fines on those found to have allowed mosquito breeding grounds in their premises.

“We have been giving advice. Too [much] advice already but this seems to be ineffective.

“So, if the enforcement officers find that a house has Aedes mosquito breeding grounds like receptacles containing the larvae, they will fine the household on the spot. No more advice,” he said after launching the Federal Territories-level schools Combi programme at SRJK(C) Tsun Kin here, today.

A house owner can be fined RM100 per Aedes larva discovered and a contractor, RM500 per larva found at the construction site. The fine can go up to RM1,000 for repeated offenders.

Up to 30 May, 21,707 dengue cases with 57 deaths had been reported.

“This is a big figure, so we must not take the matter lightly. I am urging all quarters to be more committed to combating dengue,” said Liow.

He said the current dry season provided the best setting to eradicate Aedes breeding grounds as there were less breeding activities in such climate.

“However, the Aedes eggs can survive without water for up to six months. Hence, it is important for us to get rid of the larvae and all Aedes breeding grounds,” he said.

Besides activating the community-based Communication for Behavioural Impact

(Combi), the health ministry will also work with various agencies such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) to combat dengue.

Liow said households and construction sites had been cited as the main  breeding grounds for Aedes.

“I’ve spoken to Niosh [chairperson] Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye this morning and we agreed to expand the anti-dengue campaign to construction sites to educate the workers on the need to eradicate the breeding grounds,” he said.

Liow said the Combi would be expanded to schools nationwide.

On the role of private hospitals and clinics in the matter, he said the ministry was issuing another circular to the private healthcare providers, and thereafter they would be slapped with a fine of up to RM10,000 or two years’ imprisonment if they failed to comply with the ministry’s regulation.

He said it was mandatory for private healthcare providers to report any dengue cases that they received to the health department. — Bernama

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