Thursday, September 08, 2005

Letter to Health Minister: Singapore Can Be Dengue-free!

To : Minister for Health - Mr Khaw Boon Wan

cc: The Prime Minister of Singapore - Mr Lee Hsien Loong
cc: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources - Dr Yaacob Ibrahim

Date: 7 Sept 2005

Dear Mr Khaw,

I am indeed heartened to hear it on the radio this evening (report attached in red below) that you agree with me that we have to take the Sars approach to fight dengue (link, ), with weekly cases having gone up to 546 last week.

However, I humbly beg to differ on your statement that "...... We may not be able to eradicate dengue, but surely at least as a first target, can half the incidence rate." (as extracted from ChannelNews Asia today (link, - "Non-urgent operations delayed as hospitals cope with dengue cases"). I strongly feel that while we may not be able to eradicate the Aedes mosquitoes, it is possible to eradicate dengue, but only if the government and its leaders have the same conviction and resolve. Like I said in my 1 Sept 2005 email to Prime Minister Lee and copied to you (attached below), a wholistic approach will involve multi-ministries and departments (more than just the NEA or MOH alone), so it is imperative that the Prime Minister must believe it can be done. Like I said, Singapore may never ever be Aedes-free but certainly, it can be dengue-free!"

Yours faithfully,

Jeffrey Ho

MediaCorp News 93.8 (7 Sept 2005)
Take SARS-like approach to dengue: Health Minister

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan has urged Singaporeans to take a SARS-like approach to the current dengue situation.
He described the recent surge in dengue fever cases as worrisome.
A total of 546 new cases were reported just last week alone.
With about 8 in 10 of those infected needing hospitalisation, this works out to some 60 admissions a day.
Ministry of Health says from January to July this year, close to 6,000 people with dengue fever need to be hospitalised.
And Mr Khaw says this is choking up hospitals here.
Several hospitals have also been forced to postpone elective surgeries as a result.
Mr Khaw called on Singaporeans to rally behind the Environment Ministry in its efforts to weed out the outbreak.
To this end, he asked Singaporeans to take precautions to rid the problem at its source


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