By Ndey Sowe
The Gambia’s Health Ministry has started a mass spraying and fogging exercise in Banjul in order to ensure the safety and welfare of people following reports of an invasion of biting midges and small files in the capital by the Banjul City Council (BCC) and subsequent confirmation by the Medical Entomologist and Public Health Directorate.
“As you can see, 3 fogging machines will be used for this exercise for the outdoor spraying whilst 25 Knapsack/Kent sprayers will be used for the indoor spraying. In order to ensure sustainability, my ministry has trained over 20 spray operators/volunteers all of whom are residents of Banjul,” said Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, the Minister of Health during the launching ceremony of the indoor residual and fogging of Banjul on Thursday, 26th August, 2021 at the BCC.
Dr. Samateh took the opportunity to thank Seattle Rotary Service Foundation, Gate Foundation, Malaria Partners International and Rotarians Against Malaria- Global for providing two machines to use as a ministry and by extension to the Gambian people.
“We will always remain grateful to Rotary International. As we launch these exercises, my ministry will now embark on outdoor fogging/ spraying of mosquitoes and other insets in order to increase the vector population,” he said.
Dr. Samateh said the fogging machines are devices that emit a dense vapour that appears like smoke of fog that kills mosquitos and other pests of medical importance.
“As the world grapples with Covid-19, the launch of these two Cold Thermal fogging machines highlights the importance of maintaining a robust health system in order to control existing diseases like malaria, alongside emerging ones,” Dr. Samateh said.
“In The Gambia, since 2004, the sustained investments by the Global Fund and other donors have driven malaria cases and deaths to historically low levels resulting in a general decline in malaria incidence in the country by 50%.”
Dr. Samateh said admission due to malaria in hospital and health facilities has dropped by 74% and deaths attributed to malaria have dropped by 90%. He further revealed that malaria parasite prevalence has dropped from 4.0% in 2011 to 0.2% in 2014, adding malaria prevalence has declined even further to 0.1% in 2017.
Modou Lamin Bah, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of BCC, said it is the first time their council came up with such an initiative in close collaboration with the ministry of health to ensure Banjul is fumigated to eradicate mosquitoes and insects that have recently appeared in the city of Banjul.
Bah said the BCC general council called a planning meeting whereby all stakeholders, including the ministry of health, discussed and came up with a strategy and a proper plan to implement the fumigating exercise.