The World Mosquito Program (WMP) is working in the Pacific Islands to protect communities from mosquito-borne diseases.
There is a long history of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya in the Pacific Islands. In the last few years alone, there has been 30,000 suspected cases of dengue in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. While in New Caledonia, more than 10,000 dengue cases were reported in just nine months.
Following promising results from field trials and laboratory research, the WMP has recently expanded its operations to four countries in the Pacific Islands – Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and most recently, New Caledonia.
With funding and support from the Australian Government’s innovationXchange, the WMP is working with Fijian, Vanuatu and Kiribati health authorities to pilot an innovative approach to protecting people from mosquito-borne diseases. These projects are being rolled out in the Suva-Nausori Corridor in Fiji, Port Vila and surrounding areas in Vanuatu, and South Tarawa and Betio in Kiribati. In Fiji, the WMP recently received funding from the New Zealand Government to expand its self-sustaining method to the Western division in areas around Nadi and Lautoka.
The World Mosquito Program’s approach works by releasing Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes into a community. Wolbachia are safe, natural bacteria found in up to 60% of all insect species. Once Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes breed with local mosquitoes, they pass the bacteria to their offspring. Over time, these Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes help to block the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.
The cornerstone of our approach is community support and participation. The WMP is working together with local communities to improve the lives of those at risk of mosquito-borne diseases in the Pacific Islands.
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