Pres­i­dent En­cour­ages All to fight the Bite

‘Clean-up pro­gramme is the start of a na­tion­ally co-or­di­nated clean-up pro­gramme in all mos­quito hotspots through­out the coun­try. This con­certed ef­fort will con­tinue for one month.’

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Ev­ery vil­lage, ev­ery set­tle­ment, ev­ery street, ev­ery school and re­li­gious body must par­tic­i­pate to make this Cam­paign a suc­cess.

Ni sa Bula Vi­naka and a very good morn­ing to you all. It gives me much plea­sure to be here this morn­ing to phys­i­cally roll out the “Fight the Bite– Clean Up Fiji Cam­paign, which the Hon. Prime Min­is­ter launched on Thurs­day 12 May. The Cam­paign calls on all Fi­jians to unite in the fight against mos­qui­toes. Our aim is to make our coun­try cleaner and safer for all our peo­ple and vis­i­tors to our shores.

I am ex­cep­tion­ally pleased to see many of us ready to start clean­ing and to rid our en­vi­ron­ment of mosquito­breed­ing spots. There is sim­ply no time to waste. To­day’s clean-up pro­gramme is the start of a na­tion­ally co-or­di­nated clean-up pro­gramme in all mos­quito hotspots through­out the coun­try. This con­certed ef­fort will con­tinue for one month. Af­ter that, mem­bers of the pub­lic are en­cour­aged to keep their en­vi­ron­ment con­tin­u­ously free of mos­quito breed­ing spots. Mos­qui­toes are ma­jor car­ri­ers of dis­eases. They thrive in man­made con­tain­ers such as dis­carded drums, un­used tires, empty cans and white goods. Mos­qui­toes also live and breed in blocked drains, gut­ters and among long grass. We are par­tic­u­larly con­cerned with mos­qui­toes that feed off hu­mans and which like to live next to hu­man be­ings. Th­ese mos­qui­toes spread Dengue, Chikun­gunya and Zika. While Dengue fever is the most deadly and rapidly spread­ing mosquito­borne dis­ease in Fiji, the Chikun­gunya and Zika viruses have re­cently started to af­fect our peo­ple. Th­ese dis­eases are not only a prob­lem in Fiji, but also in the re­gion and glob­ally, caus­ing se­vere ill­ness and deaths.

Presently, no vaccine can ef­fec­tively treat the Dengue, Chikun­gunya and Zika viruses. This is why clean­ing up and de­stroy­ing mos­quito-breed­ing sites is the most ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to con­trol and pre­vent the spread of mos­quito-borne dis­eases. What this needs is a united ap­proach by Gov­ern­ment, busi­nesses, com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als to rid our en­vi­ron­ment of mos­quito breed­ing places.

It is there­fore im­por­tant for ev­ery Fi­jian to take own­er­ship of the Fight the Bite Cam­paign. This is the only way that our na­tion can be suc­cess­ful. Ev­ery house­hold from chil­dren, youth and adults must par­tic­i­pate. Ev­ery vil­lage, ev­ery set­tle­ment, ev­ery street, ev­ery school and re­li­gious body must par­tic­i­pate to make this Cam­paign a suc­cess. By work­ing to­gether to ad­dress this com­mon threat, we can achieve im­proved health and well­be­ing. As an­nounced by the Prime Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment will col­lab­o­rate with the peo­ple of Fiji in the Cam­paign against mos­qui­toes. Apart from the Civil Ser­vants par­tic­i­pat­ing in an all­out cleanup cam­paign, Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide in­for­ma­tion through the me­dia to en­sure that we are all aware of the dan­gers of mos­quito-borne dis­eases.

Health staff will also be avail­able to ad­vice the pub­lic and espe­cially preg­nant women on the pre­cau­tions that they need to un­der­take. Aside from rid­ding the en­vi­ron­ment of mos­quito-breed­ing spots, peo­ple must also take other pro­tec­tion mea­sures like us­ing re­pel­lants and sleep­ing un­der mos­quito nets. I also wish to re­mind ev­ery­one that in ad­di­tion to main­tain­ing a lit­ter and mos­quito-free en­vi­ron­ment we should also main­tain a healthy life­style, which in­cludes eat­ing healthy foods and con­duct­ing reg­u­lar ex­er­cises. While we fight the mos­quito, we must also re­main vig­i­lant in the on­go­ing bat­tle against Non-Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases such as di­a­betes and hy­per­ten­sion. NCDs ac­count for 80 per cent of pre­ma­ture deaths. Just as the mos­quito hides in our en­vi­ron­ment, NCDs hide in our bod­ies. We can en­joy longer, health­ier and more ful­fill­ing lives if we make wise nu­tri­tional choices, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly and keep our en­vi­ron­ment clean.

I re­it­er­ate that we must keep Fiji clean by work­ing to­gether. We must lead by ex­am­ple and show the rest of the world that Fiji is not only one of the friendli­est and beau­ti­ful places, but it is also a clean and healthy coun­try. Ladies and gentle­men, let us now of­fi­cially roll out the Fight the Bite – Clean Up Fiji Cam­paign.

A mos­quito takes a bite into hu­man skin.

Ma­jor-Gen­eral (Ret’d) Jioji Kon­rote Pres­i­dent of Fiji

The fol­low­ing is the key­note ad­dress from Pres­i­dent Ma­jor-Gen­eral (Ret’d) Jioji Kon­rote at the rolling-out of the ‘Fight the Bite’ - Clean-up Fiji cam­paign’

Honourable Min­is­ters Dis­tin­guished Guests Ladies and gentle­men

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