Four children dead in two days from dengue fever complications

A fourth dengue fever fatality in just two days has prompted meetings between Male’ City Council and the Ministry of Health to discuss “immediate steps” to reduce the number of mosquito breeding grounds in the capital.

The President’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair said cabinet had also launched a program to counter the dengue outbreak and appointed a committee to oversee mosquito reduction efforts.

Haveeru reported that a four year old child from Muraidhoo in Haa Alif Atoll became the fourth death in two days, dying this morning while in transit to Kulhudhuffushi Regional Hospital.

The cause of the death was dengue hemorrhagic fever, the newspaper reported.

A two year old infant died at 3:00am this morning while being treated in Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male’. Haveeru reported a relative as claiming that the infant had to be transferred from ADK due to lack of availability of a blood transfusion machine.

A six year-old girl and a nine month-old baby died yesterday after being transferred to Male’ from Meemu Atoll.

Health Minister Dr Aminath Jameel, replying to a question from MDP MP Ali Waheed during yesterday’s parliament session, said the ministry was providing information to islands through teleconferencing and stressed that controlling mosquito breeding grounds was key to combating the rise in dengue fever across the country.

“Mosquitoes don’t travel very far,” she explained. “Therefore, it’s mosquitoes from nearby areas that are spreading it. Controlling mosquito [breeding] is needed from the public and individuals as well. We are working together with island councils and the Male’ city council.”

She added that the Addu City council had taken initiative and organised activities to combat the spread of the disease.

“An additional problem that we encounter is the quick turnover of doctors in the country’s hospitals and health centres,” she said. “So they are not very familiar with the protocol here. We are facing that problem as well. But as I’ve said, this can’t solved without controlling mosquito [breeding].”

When People’s Alliance (PA) MP Abdul Raheem Abdulla asked if she was considering resignation “since based on what is being said here your sector has very much failed,” Dr Jameel replied that she did not believe that was the case.

The Maldives has been battling a growing epidemic of dengue fever this year, with 300 cases and five deaths reported in just the first two months of the year.

There has been a spike in the number of cases reported in Male’, however most of the fatalities have been islanders who died in transit to regional hospitals. Many of the most serious cases have affected children.

Early symptoms of virus include fever, joint paint and a distinctive rash and headache, although it can be difficult to distinguish from the milder Chikungunya disease which can last for up to five days. Even healthy adults can be left immobile by dengue for several weeks while the disease runs its course.

The government and health authorities have expressed concern about mosquito breeding grounds developing in stagnant water in the city’s many construction sites.

“The boom in the construction industry has created a huge number of mosquito breeding grounds,” former head of the Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC), Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, told Minivan News in April.

“In Male’ when the Council gives planning permission it requires management of mosquito breeding grounds, but have so far failed to enforce it or conduct inspections. My experience in Male’ was that when our teams visited construction sites there was often nobody at the site to communicate with in Dhivehi or English.”

While the teams might be contact with the construction company responsible for the building, often those working at the site were employed under layers of subcontracting which made it difficult to place responsibility, he added.

Zuhair told Minivan News today that the problem was exacerbated by the large number of unfinished buildings where construction had ceased.

“For example, one proposed seven storey-building has [ceased construction] at four storeys, and has pools of stagnant water on top,” he said, adding that it was sometimes difficult to pinpoint who was responsible for the building site due to the layers of subcontractors involved.

Many islands had sought to combat the problem by borrowing fogging equipment and expertise from nearby resorts to kill their mosquito populations, but this also killed beneficial insects, he said.

“It is common for resorts to loan fogging equipment and technical assistance to local islands, but this has negative side effects: it kills all the other insects, which prevents pollination and impacts agricultural activity,” Zuhair explained, adding that human intervention and the elimination of breeding sites was the main priority.


19 thoughts on “Four children dead in two days from dengue fever complications”

  1. Haveeru reported that the cabinet decided to start a program to control mosquito breeding next week. What the .... is wrong with these cabinet ministers.

  2. So..while the party buys MPs, citizens and all varieties of fools and wannabes the country burns in hell.

    We can all speak about mosquito breeding grounds but there certainly HAS been mismanagement, lack of coordination and lack of effort on the part of the government.

    One more minus mark for Anni. Btw...great idea having a soccer match right in the middle of an epidemic. Go, go, MDP PR team 😀

  3. Aminath jameel, I am a member of MDP and I have no confidence in you. I hope the Majlis takes a no confidence vote for you. Dengue may be controlled by controlling mosquito. But the deaths can be controlled by you taking action to improve health facilities. You should be ashamed to say doctor turn over being high makes it difficult to teach them protocol. You should have distributed written protocols long back.

  4. seriously? u think at da middle of this epidemic wht we need is politicians on tv sayin da gvt suck coz they dint tak any action? we dnt need dat bullshit. we need health experts makin ppl more aware of dengue. so cut da crap n get on wit da real thing. itz nt da gvts fault.

  5. The responsibility of the minister is to deliver results. Not give excuses let along one that is blatently her responsibility - train doctors to the hospital protocols and take action against high turn-over problem. If she doesn't think this is her responsibility, then what does she think is hers?

  6. This is "Heyo Verikan". the president is busy playing football and dancing in discos and we people are dying one by one. long live MDP

  7. Its not like we wake up one day to find a dengue and chikun gunya epidemic. Every year during the rainy season we face the same diseases over and over again. Yet we never learn. We never prepare ourselves for the rainy season. Its a failure of us as a whole not just the government. When someone dies of our inability to take action we say its the will of allah. When will we ever start taking responsibility and use our brains for once.

  8. Aminath Jameel,

    We are talking about a serious issue - we all understand our country's health care standard is very below comparing with all SAARC countries...we also understand we are the only country that could provide a quality health care to all the people in the country because our population is smaller than a small town in the region.

    As you know Dr Aminath, Singapore was also ruled and our country was also ruled but look at the BIG DIFFERENCE!!!! So, please resign so that someone who could do this important job shall get a chance to head the Health Ministry.

  9. Dear Aminath Jameel

    Your job is just to mention or comment on the reason why epidemics like the Dengue or the health care facility is poor????

    Your are a strange type of Minister!!!!

    Please wake up!! we the people of Maldives are paying for you not just to comment on such issues but we are paying for you so that you make plans and keep monitoring if the plans are moving ahead as per your plans. The objectives of the plans shall be to ensure all the mosquito breeding areas are identified and dealt timely and be prepared for the likelihood of the time like this time...look at innocent children are dying!!!! And you are enjoying your wages and the post as a Cabinet Minister without a shame!!!!

  10. It is easy to comment, point fingers and appear in the media, which at this point is not going to do any benefit to the epidemic in force.

    Finding who sucks, who is irresponsible can wait!

    What we need is ACTION and NOW!

    Very true, fogging will kill such insects who undertake a tit for tat job of pollinating!

    But right now it is this mosquito who is spreading this epidemic and killing our young ones!

    Who needs to be killed and how to go about this without doing harm to the other is for experts to judge and decide!

    It is pity that our nation is not the least bothered about anything else other than politics and power!

    Are we least bothered about our reefs being killed by our greed for harbours and reclamations?

    Are we least bothered about killing the life cycle of the marine life on which we live on?

    Are we least bothered about killing our life long pole and line tuna fishing to the money earning hand line tuna fishery industry?

    The answer is NO!

    Today it is a dengue epidemic!

    Tomorrow: Our children and grand children may be deprived of catching a decent fish for their meal!
    We starve ourselves with the once enjoyed plentiful fish?

    It is hard to say who the hell is responsible here; government or us?

  11. Health Minister has proven herself incompetent to deliver anything meaningful over these years.

    It seems she wouldnt understand that she has failed but what about the Majlis members?

  12. When things go wrong the president is blamed.
    We are supposed to decentralize; the Island councils are not functioning. What are those people doing in Islands councils? Just wasting time and enjoying their undeserved fat salaries and doing nothing! It is definitely ridicules to blame the central government.

  13. The island councils are not functional? Yes. We know that. We knew that would happen when the local communities appointed the idiots. Incompetents. Selected solely based on how popular he is with the ruling party. or some such idiotic trait.

    THe president gets blamed? The public wants to hold someone responsible. Who can they hold accountable? THe island council? He knows nothing. And practically do nothing. At most, he can issue a statement to the news media. Only that.

    But blaming the President does not solve anything, to the current problem. He himself is having second thoughts about some of the incompetents that he has selected within his government. But he has to take some real hard decisions now. So that atleast the next few years will be better.

  14. Every year we face the problem of Dengue circa in the same period of time. But the Health Ministry stays sleeping until they find one or two children are dead just like now. Why can't they take some action in advance each year before the Dengue strikes? This is so much of irresponsibility and ineeficiency. This is what happens when ministries are run by fahari's and bodudaitha's.

  15. Wake up,you sleeping country&don't let the mosquitoes bite...Don't be so dirty&breed mosqits in dirty little pools of water,wash your hands,maintain hygiene,eat clean healthy food,avoid eating out side to prevent other illnesses,Bangladeshi waiters who are mistreated might have done who knows what on your food,so avoid going to dirty eatery joints,take care of one-three day fevers at home,with PCM,that's the only thing required,if no vomiting or lethergy...

    Drink fluids &stay hydrated...And above all,remember God&pray for good health&safety&well being of the community..

  16. As Ziyan said,it shouldn't take some deaths for the Ministry to realize the dangers of dengue,it's always prevalent in Maldives...What needs to be done is prevention before things go out of hand..Diseases like dengue need more preventive measures than anything else..Mosquito control is best way to prevent dengue...And getting the right public messages &awareness messages over media and spreading leaflets at doorsteps on how to take care at home instead of running to hospitals on the first day of fever won't help anyone..Health Ministry has totally failed like never before!

  17. Getting to office in a car like her royal highness is not the only job of a health minister....The present HM must be out her head after getting her dream come true&forgotten that it's a public service that she's carrying out& not as a crowned queen of some mighty kingdom,come down to earth,see the horrible health condition of the community..Don't look far,get down from the car and see the road where your office is...It's full of spit&garbage..It's not so difficult to control spitting on the roads,to get dustbins for the roads,this is a small place,make up your mind&take care of the health of the community!!!


Comments are closed.