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.’
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.
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