Schools in all but one island in the Maldives reopened today after being closed for more than a month due to a severe dengue fever outbreak.
Parents in Shaviyani Atoll Narudhoo refused to send their children to school today with some 11 reported cases of dengue and four people under treatment for dengue at present.
Abdulla Shafeeq, the president of the Narudhoo Island council, said parents wanted to keep schools closed for another week, due to fear of re-emergence of dengue and the spread of a separate viral fever.
Some 894 cases of dengue have been reported in the Maldives this year. Four people have died so far from the mosquito-borne disease.
Shafeeq said that the school board had visited every house in the island to gauge public opinion on the matter. “The general population remained cautious, preferring to wait for another week before sending their kids to school. This is not a protest.”
Education Minister Aishath Shiham said today that schools had been opened on the consultation with the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
“HPA is a key player in this process, so we looked into their assessments and data, and decisions were made through a consultation process,” she said.
The government closed schools until further notice on June 30. The four who have died include a pregnant 18-year-old woman, a 7-month-old infant and a migrant worker.
Thasleema Usman of the HPA said Narudhoo Island has been fogged to eradicate mosquitoes.
“Narudhoo will again be fogged after a break period. Fortunately, the number of cases have reduced significantly after the peak in July, not only in Narudhoo but in all areas,” she said.
“We are closely monitoring islands were more cases have been reported.”
HPA statistics show some 392 cases were reported from Malé and 502 cases were reported from the atolls. The highest number of cases were reported in the second week of July at 154 cases. Reported cases dropped to 42 last week.
President Abdulla Yameen set up a ministerial taskforce to combat dengue in late June. The government has been fogging public areas, and has conducted a door-to-door campaign to create awareness on eliminating mosquito breeding grounds.