Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete has released the Western division’s first batch of Wolbachia mosquitoes in Narewa Village, Nadi, in partnership with the World Mosquito Program.
“The Ministry has always been open to new, sustainable strategies and solutions to our health problems. Hence, our partnership with the WMP to help us create a more dynamic and robust health system to counter such issues,” Waqainabete says.
“Wolbachia mosquitoes are expected to overtake mosquitoes carrying dengue, chikungunya and zika, via interbreeding.”
Dr. Waqainabete commends this biological innovation as a safe and excellent strategy to reducing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, particularly in the Western division, which has been a notable hotspot.
“Fiji is one of 12 countries in the world implementing the Wolbachia method,” he says.
“This indicates the level of trust partners, stakeholders and communities have in Wolbachia and also the commitment of the Fijian Government in fighting such diseases using this innovative tool. The Ministry has always been open to new, sustainable strategies and solutions to our health problems.
“Our partnership with the World Mosquito Program is to help create a more dynamic health system to counter such issues.”
The New Zealand Aid Program has contributed NZ$2.7million to support the expansion of the World Mosquito Program’s Wolbachia method into the Western Division.
New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Jonathan Curr said this funding would enable the World Mosquito Program to help protect an additional 120,000 people living in the area.