The Acting Governor of Bali, Sang Made Mahendra Jaya, has given more information about the release of Wolbachia mosquitoes in Bali.
The World Mosquito Program has planned to release tens of thousands of mosquitos in Denpasar and Buleleng, but the mission has been postponed indefinitely.
The Acting Governor of Bali has spoken to the public regarding the postponement of the mass release of Wolbachia mosquitoes on the island.
The project, managed by the World Mosquito Program, was established to help reduce the number of dengue cases on the island. The organization is also working in Jogjakarta.
Acting Governor Mahendra Jaya has cited that more socialization and communication is needed before the project can go ahead.
He said, “We need socialization. There is resistance from the community, we don’t want the community to be divided. There are pros and cons, it’s better if we postpone it for now.”
It has also been confirmed by the Regional Secretary of Bali Province, Dewa Made Indra, that his party is currently waiting for the study process carried out by the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
Indra said, “This includes biotechnology, which means it is good for reducing cases of dengue fever in Denpasar City which are quite high. The only problem is that there has not been a comprehensive study of the use of Wolbachia (mosquitoes), especially with questions from the public.”
He confirmed that the Ministry of Health will now investigate the viability of the Wolbachia program in Bali.
The World Mosquito Program states on its website, “The World Mosquito Program has received regulatory approval from relevant government bodies in all the countries where we are releasing Wolbachia mosquitoes. In addition, we don’t release Wolbachia mosquitoes without community support.”
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health will now be conducting further studies of its own based on concerns raised by residents and tourists.
Indra added “The Ministry of Health’s study will include how much the Wolbachia mosquito program will have an effect on reducing cases of dengue fever and how big the chance of this program actually causing new diseases.”
“Will dengue fever decrease, but will it cause other diseases? To answer that, of course, science will answer.”
The Mayor of Denpasar, I Gusti Ngurah Jaya Negara, told reporters that he too will wait for the report by the Ministry of Health before giving his backing to any further release of Wolbachia mosquitoes.
He explained, “We received a lot of input from the public so that the plan (to spread the Wolbachia mosquito) was postponed.”
“We have not implemented it before actually receiving a recommendation from the Ministry of Health.”Later, it will be carried out if there is a recommendation from the Ministry of Health.”
New data from medical teams in Tabanan Regency in Bali show that dengue cases are soaring.
Data shows that in 2022 there were 366 cases of dengue fever recorded by hospitals in the area, yet by October 28th, 2023 there were 595 cases of dengue fever recorded.
The Head of the Disease Prevention and Control Division of the Tabanan Health Service, Anak Agung Ngurah Putra Wiradana, told reporters that he and his teams are doing all they can to keep residents and tourists safe from dengue fever.
He explained dengue “is an endemic disease in Indonesia, a disease that persists every year. Our prevention efforts, the Tabanan Health Service through community health centers, always carry out health promotions to prevent dengue fever.”
“One of them is fogging. Currently fogging is being carried out in areas where there are positive cases of dengue fever.”
As monsoon season arrives in Bali the risk of dengue fever increases for everyone on the island.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are a series of easy-to-implement steps to help reduce the risk of contracting dengue fever while in Bali.
WHO recommends wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, using mosquito nets, and using window screens to help keep mosquitos out.
They also recommend people use mosquito repellent, specifically DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535, and use coils or vaporizers.
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