BUENOS AIRES – UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization and the Argentine Health Ministry launched on Thursday in Buenos Aires the “Weeks of Action against Mosquitos” campaign, a joint initiative with other South American countries to prevent massive outbreaks of dengue, zika and chikungunya.
At an event in Tecnopolis, in the Argentine capital, the local Unicef representative, Florence Bauer, the head of PAHO in the country, Maureen Birmingham, and Health Minister Jorge Lemus presented the campaign, which includes different activities to raise awareness among the public.
The minister told EFE that the most important thing is to make people aware of the preventive measures they can take at home, including emptying containers of standing water where the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the diseases, breeds.
He said that “the problem arises during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter” when the insect begins its reproductive cycle, and thus the preventive measures at that time of year are vital in preventing outbreaks of contagion the next summer, like last year, when the region had one of the worst dengue epidemics in memory.
Lemus said that representatives of the country’s northern provinces had already met to plan a joint strategy, especially in the northern Misiones region, where last season 50 percent of all the dengue cases in Argentina were registered.
Birmingham and Bauer agreed with Lemus on the importance of prevention in the home and on working with children to make them aware of the danger of leaving containers of standing water around.
“Working on prevention with the children is key, so we’re supporting that kind of activity, the most efficacious and important for being able to prevent the mosquito’s reproduction,” said the local PAHO chief after participating in a game with children organized by the institutions focusing on prevention.
This kind of activity is part of the campaign against the mosquito’s breeding that is also being carried out by institutions in Costa Rica, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, El Salvador and Honduras.