Friday, December 16, 2005

Inclusion of dengue breeding sites on webpage / Owen & Dorset Road drains

Sent to NEA on 16 Dec 2005:

Thank you for your email.

There are basically 2 main reasons why I suggested that NEA put up a list of sites where rampant mosquito breeding is found:

1. It acts as an alert to the residents in the neighbourhood to be extra vigilant, especially when there is widespread breeding in the area. Let me illustrate an experience I had with NEA to reinforce this point. Back in August 2005 during the height of the dengue outbreak, I had requested for NEA to put up a listing of dengue clusters - for the very same reason that if residents in the neighbourhood were made aware of the outbreak in the area, they would be extremely vigilant about it. As usual, NEA's initial response was that the publicity via educational banners and posters in the affected area was sufficient. (see attached email from Ginny Tan dated 16 August 2005 for details). The to-and-fro bewteen me and NEA took all of 3 weeks or so before NEA finally saw the merit of the suggestion and finally decided to put up the Dengue Cluster list under the Ministry of Health's website - I always believe more information is better than less (especially during such situations when all Singaporeans are called on to play a role in eliminating the outbreak), but somehow from this experience, I get the feeling that NEA is reluctant to share such information as doing so might subject itself to more questions and challenges as to its effectiveness and efficiency. If you need help from every resident in Singapore to play his or her part, then you should provide the necessary tools (like more information) for them to be effective.

2. I note there has been a slackening in the dengue fight of late - perhaps because there is now less publicity on dengue and also because the number of cases has dropped. I hope NEA does not fall into the complacency trap and give Singaporeans the false sense of security that dengue is now in control. Once this happens, we will go one full circle again. Like I said, the fight is always on-going until and unless Singapore becomes dengue-free; even then we must always remain vigilant because once our guards are down, the mosquitoes will be back. To illustrate this point, I've noticed that the drains are now back to their old state again - choked and hardly maintained. I've attached some photos taken at the Owen/Dorset Road area - this seems to be a perpetual problem. Whatever happened to the increased resources?


Subject: Re: Known dengue case in Geylang East -Central Grove: NEA to publish weekly update of known dengue clusters?

To: Jeff Ho

CC: Dalson CHUNG -

From: Ginny TAN -

Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 15:35:16 +0800

Dear Jeffery,

Thanks for your feedback.

Some of these dengue areas are Teck Whye, Woodlands, Upper Boon Keng,Yishun and Ang Mo Kio.

NEA informs residents in the affected areas by sending them dengue alert letters which advises them to get rid of potential mosquito breeding habitats.

NEA also place dengue educational banners and posters up in the affected areas so that everyone including residents of surrounding estates would be aware of the dengue cluster situation in their neighbourhood. Such banners display information like how many cases are there and location of the dengue cluster and when the first case started.

Best regards
Ginny Tan
Manager (Situation Room), Operations
Environmental Health Department
The National Environment Agency


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