In a strategic response to combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, the Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide initiative in a collaborative effort with other ministries, state-owned enterprises, and private sector partners. The campaign under the banner ‘Madhirin Rahkaa’ is a proactive measure to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds, with the Health Ministry and the Health Protection Agency (HPA) at the helm.

The initiative comes at a time the country is dealing with the re-emergence of filariasis, a disease previously eradicated in the Maldives. The cases were first detected during a health screening programme conducted in Kulhuduffushi City earlier this month.

In response, the government set up a specialised task force to conduct further screenings and implement measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The 32 active cases have been detected exclusively among expatriate workers, with 25 cases identified in Kulhudhuffushi and an additional seven cases found in the Malé region a week ago, according to HPA. The infected individuals include 30 Indian nationals and two Bangladeshis, the agency reported.

Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef, who inaugurated the campaign, stated, “Today, we are called upon to reaffirm the fraternal bonds that have historically defined our community. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that every corner of our community adheres to communal guidelines. We must remain vigilant, ensuring no mosquito breeding grounds are left unattended.”

The Vice President also underscored the importance of proactive measures to protect the public from mosquito-borne diseases and maintain public health. He called for public support for the nationwide cleaning campaign, particularly emphasising the importance of ensuring no mosquito breeding grounds at construction sites.

Minister of Health Dr Abdulla Khaleel warned about the life-threatening nature of diseases such as Zika and dengue, which are spread by mosquitoes. He stated, “The loss of some of our loved ones to dengue has highlighted the importance of eliminating mosquito breeding grounds. Our collective goal is to prevent the resurgence of diseases that we have previously eradicated.”

In addition to Malé, extensive clean-up operations are being carried out in Hulhumalé, Gulhifalhu, and Thilafushi, spearheaded by Urbanco. Since the beginning of this month, over 60 tonnes of waste have been collected from Hulhumalé and transferred to Thilafushi, according to Urbanco. Teams from the company have also identified 200 locations and have initiated operations to use chemicals to eradicate those breeding grounds.