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Australian assistance to combat dengue

Visiting Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop yesterday announced Australian assistance to combat dengue in Sri Lanka.

Bishop made this announcement at the press briefing after calling on Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Health and indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The two Governments exchanged ‘letter of intent’ to work together to eliminate Dengue in Sri Lanka. As the first step the World Health Organization will be given Rs 58 million grant to immediately implement intensive dengue prevention and control measures in Sri Lanka. As a long term project, Monash University in Australia will partner with the Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry in Sri Lanka to use ground-breaking research pioneered by Australian scientists to prevent the spread of dengue.

“Monash University will trial the introduction of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to Sri Lankan mosquito populations. Wolbachia prevents transmission of dengue virus between humans. It has been highly successful and has been used in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India,” Bishop explained.

Monash University will utilize a grant of Rs 116 million from an Australia’s research institute to undertake trials in Sri Lanka to use this method for elimination of dengue. Minister Dr Senaratne, thanking the Australian Government for the assistance to control dengue, said a written agreement with regard to the programme would be signed once its details are finalized by the two Governments.