Both are border towns with a similar climate and plenty of mosquitoes but the similarities end there this time as Gelephu has been much more successful in curbing malaria and dengue than Phuentsholing.
Phuentsholing has been hit with around 27 dengue cases so far and is struggling to cope with the problem. Despite being in a more developed and bigger urban area residents in Phuentsholing did not even follow basic do’s and don’ts allowing mosquito larva to breed in various open spaces even within and around the house.
Residents also did not cooperate with the teams that came to spray against mosquitoes not allowing them in their houses.
On the other hand with summer coming almost to an end, the health officials with the Gelephu hospital boasted of zero cases of malaria and dengue cases this year so far.
With various initiatives from the hospital and efforts of health officials in particular, the Gelephu hospital did not record a single case of malaria or dengue this year.
Gelephu Medical Superintend Tapash Gurung said the hospital remained vigilant after the massive flood occurred in the dzongkhag recently and the Malaria Unit visited homes and under their guidance all homes and surroundings were uncontaminated.
He also said people in the dzongkhgag also maintained hygiene and worked with in close collaboration with health officials. The hospital supplied long lasting bed nets and the malaria units visited house to house conducting awareness campaigns.
Supply of bed nets is done on yearly basis since 2006 to control malaria and dengue.
The Gelephu Medical Superintend also said the hospital has everything in place and planned with the onset of summer until the season is over. Surroundings of residential areas are monitored to ensure that there is no stagnant water to avoid mosquito breeding.
“The team tests out stagnant water and makes sure that people dump garbage in proper areas,” said the MS.
In addition the hospital also has malaria workers in every gewog called the community action group to support the ministry in control malaria. In most of the hospitals in the country a community Action Group has been formed.
From the hospitals in the sub tropical regions, Samtse hospital reported of about 100 cases during peak malaria season. Meanwhile, the health ministry is also pushing boundaries to develop new tools and advocating for greater attention and international support for malaria- elimination.