The Salvadorean Red Cross Society is playing a vital role in the prevention of dengue as part of a coalition set up by the government in response to an increases of cases registered by the Ministry of Health over recent months.
As one of the institutions that make up the National Civil Protection System and Auxiliary Services Public Health and Social Assistance, the organization has joined national efforts to reduce the spread of dengue in the country, mainly in the 32 municipalities in the departments of Santa Ana, Chalatenango, Cuscatlán, Cabañas and San Salvador that are on orange alert and are considered as a priority for attention.
The plan was rolled out across the country in August and involves advanced training for 400 staff and volunteers on effective fumigation and destroying breeding sites, and also in hygiene promotion. Coverage is nationwide and comprehensive, and is carried out in concert with local health authorities in municipalities and the Ministry of Health nationally.
Dr. Carolina Rodriguez, who is coordinating the project for the National Disaster Risk Management and Salvadoran Red Cross said everybody needed to get involved. "It is essential to have the support and collaboration of the community, especially those living in the high risk locations to prevent the spread of disease,” she said. “We also call for other institutions to join this national effort taking actions to counter the spread ".
Rodriguez said the campaign is already working because of the faith that people have in the Red Cross, which means that when volunteers come to their doors, people do not hesitate to open up and follow the recommendations to maintain and clean water tanks.
In addition to prevention measures, the organization is also providing emergency care aimed at saving lives and ensuring a speedy recovery for the most vulnerable.
Aid stations have been set up across the country, with cleaning kits containing bleach, plastic hoses, flashlights, bags, sponges, protective clothing , plastic broom, bucket, machete, and wheelbarrows. From these stations, the Red Cross plans to reach out to 120 schools nationwide to join in the cleanup campaign, and run awareness sessions in nine major shopping centres.The organization said it expected to reach over 20,000 people with its hygiene promotion efforts. So far spraying has reached 15,300 dwellings in communities across the country.
The Salvadorean Red Cross Society received support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies through its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to implement the national strategy.