Red Cross volunteers in training. Photo: Vanuatu Red Cross

Fern Napwatt

Vanuatu Red Cross will train 35 volunteers to help authorities address the dengue outbreak in Vanuatu.

The first training on Safety Operations was conducted on February 7, 2017 on Malekula, Malampa Province.

The Health and WASH Coordinator of Vanuatu Red Cross Society Sandrine Benjimen says the training is still underway and it will be extended to Emae Island where the Dengue Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will be implemented.

According to the Ministry of Health in Vanuatu, the outbreak of dengue serotype-2 is ongoing with 2,238 cases reported as of April 1, 2017. There were 90 hospitalisations since November 2016.

Benjimen says with the trainings they’ve had, the volunteers are prepared and passionate about reaching out to the communities with dengue awareness.

The Red Cross volunteers have carried out the awareness and mass clean up campaigns in the dengue affected communities on Emae and Malekula.

Benjimen acknowledged the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for the financial and technical support in the Dengue DREF operation.

“We look forward to working with the communities in implementing the dengue DREF activities,” Benjimen added.

Dengue illness is suspected if you have symptoms of: High fever for at least 2 days; Severe headache; Nausea and vomiting; Muscle or joint pains; Pain behind the eyes; and Rash.

Anyone who suspects that they have symptoms of dengue should seek medical advice from their nearest healthcare facility.

The key messages from the VRCS are dengue can be a dangerous disease because in severe cases (symptoms may include intense stomach pain, repeated vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums) it may even cause death.

The public is advised to eliminate mosquito breeding places by burying all empty tins, bottles, containers like coconut shells or dispose them properly, cover all water containers with lids, change water from flower vases every week, and keep small fish in water tanks and water drums.

Prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito coils and electric vapour mats during the day time, use mosquito nets to protect babies, the elderly and others who take naps during the day.

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