Girardot, a tourist town 120 kilometers from Bogota, Colombia, record 1,731 cases of Zika last year but just 109 new cases so far in 2016.This significant reduction is being attributed to an educational program involving society in general.
According to Manuel Dia Gonzalez, Health Secretary of Girardot, the positive results are the product of regular visits to the most vulnerable areas of the city, and a strong publicity campaign about proper habits to be maintained against Zika and communicated through all local media.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Manuel Dia Gonzalez, Health Secretary of Girardot
“We have executed a campaign of prevention, promotion and control to sensitize people to the fact that this problem was caused by the bad habits we have as citizens. Failure to clean swimming pools every week, accumulating mounds of rubbish, keeping water reservoirs uncovered are factors that influence this mosquito’s ability to breed. Spraying is not the solution.”
In just two months, the people have understood the nature of the program and have managed to largely get rid of the mosquito from their area. The experiences of past epidemics such as chikungunya, which saw more than 70,000 cases reported in Girardot in 2014, also serve to show how effective such educational campaigns can be.