LAHORE: The Cuban government and dengue experts have offered their expertise and technical assistance to the Punjab government to help control outbreak of deadly disease in the provincial capital.
“We have offered our services in the form of technical assistance, technology transfer and use of larvicide Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis),” Cuban vector expert Dr Aramis Martínez Arias told Daily Times in an exclusive interview.
Dr Arias, who was accompanied by LABIOFAM Director Dr Jorge Luis Martínez López, said the objective of their visit to Pakistan was to share knowledge on dengue control with government officials and other stakeholders and formally offer Cuban government’s support to the Punjab government in this regard.
Dr Arias, who is a microbiologist having 20 years of experience in the field of dengue and malaria control, said, “You spray thousands of time in the city and it wouldn’t impact because the best time to kill dengue is the larvae stage. In order to control dengue outspread, strong political will, intersectoral collaboration, law enforcement and community mobilisation is needed. If you don’t combine these four principles, you cannot control dengue,” he said.
“Once hatched, it becomes very difficult to locate mosquitoes and kill them. You can use chemical sprays in areas where mosquitoes are found in a large number,” Dr Arias said.
He said role of entomologist is very important in controlling dengue outbreak.
“You can use chemicals [to kill mosquitoes] to a certain limit because this also affects environment. Therefore, you have to use biological treatment in the form of larvicide Bti,” Dr Arias said.
To a question, he said lifetime of a dengue mosquito is 30-45 days depending on environment. He said that he had been working extensively in South America and all over Africa in collaboration with WHO and governments to offer his expertise and consultancy in vector control.
Dr Arias and Dr López said they had received good response during their meeting with Punjab government’s focal persons of dengue control, including Dr Waseem Akram and Khawaja Salman Rafique.
They said they had shared their knowledge and experience with Pakistani experts and managers of the anti-dengue campaign.