The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
While almost half of the city struggles to prevent the spread of dengue fever over the wet season, residents of Pancoran subdistrict in South Jakarta claim to have controlled the outbreak of the disease in their area.
The residents have managed to reduce the number of reported cases of dengue by instigating a weekly cleanliness program.
One resident, Kartuti, said the community were committed to the regular program schedule.
Several neighboring areas conduct cleanups twice a week, she said.
"The activities include clearing gutters, draining bathing water and burying bottles and cans. We have been doing it since a few years ago," Kartuti told The Jakarta Post, Wednesday.
Pancoran subdistrict used to be among Jakarta's dengue-fever prone areas, known as red zones. A subdistrict is classified a "red zone" when at least three cases of dengue fever and one death are recorded in the area.
Only with discipline and continuing participation could the community rid itself of the disease, Kartuti said.
The city administration removed Pancoran from red zone list last February.
The disease, however, remains a concern for the rest of Jakarta, with 88 of its 267 subdistricts listed as red zones this year. Most of the zones are in flood-inflicted areas.
A member of a housewives' empowerment group in Pancoran, Ayu Nurrohman, said her group encouraged the community to clean the neighborhood every Tuesday and Friday.
She said the activity, which usually lasted around one hour, involved the monitoring of mosquito larvae by health officers, group cadre and residents.
A doctor at a nearby public health center, Diah, said in Pancoran subdistrict each neighborhood unit had one officer to monitor mosquito larvae, and each community unit (consisting of several neighborhood units) had two health officers overseeing the neighborhood environment.
Pancoran has five community units and around 60 neighborhood units.
Diah said she had recorded several cases in the subdistrict recently, but that the number was not significant.
"Around one case is reported each month, but some months there are none at all," she said.
Ayu said most of the latest dengue victims contracted the disease outside Pancoran.
She cited an example where a resident was diagnosed with dengue fever after visiting his grandparents in Sumatra.
"Often patients caught the disease elsewhere but were diagnosed here. Because of this our subdistrict often takes the blame," Ayu said.
After a dengue case was reported, the subdistrict conducted epidemiology investigations to check where the patient contracted the disease, Diah said.
She said if the disease was found to have originated locally, the subdistrict would fumigate the area.
"Fumigation is expensive so we need to be sure where the patient contracted the disease," she said.
She said fumigation alone was not enough to control the spread of dengue fever.
"Many residents believe they are safe from dengue fever after the subdistrict fumigates an area, so we have to keep promoting the cleanliness program," she said.
"Fumigation only kills adult mosquitoes and leaves mosquito's eggs and larvae unharmed," she said.
The Health Agency recorded approximately 29,000 cases of dengue between January and October 2007, with some 80 fatalities.
Between January and April this year, South Jakarta had the most reported cases, with 4,846 patients and 17 fatalities, followed by East Jakarta (4,337 cases, 12 fatalities), West Jakarta (2,261 cases, 11 fatalities), North Jakarta (1,973 cases, seven fatalities) and Central Jakarta (1,656 cases, four fatalities). (tif)
The 88 "Red Zone" Subdistricts Flood-affected areas
North Jakarta: Pejagalan, Penjaringan, East and West Pademangan, Lagoa, Rawa Badak, Kali Baru, West Semper, North Tugu, Tanjung Priok, Papanggo, Sunter Agung and Sunter Jaya.
West Jakarta: Kapuk, East and West Cengkareng, Wijaya Kusuma, North Tanjung Duren, Tomang, North Kedoya and Kebon Jeruk.
South Jakarta: Bukit Duri, Pela Mampang, Mampang Prapatan, Tegal Parang, Bangka, East and West Pajaten, East and West Cilandak, Rangunan, Jati Padang, Kebagusan, Lenteng Agung, Ciganjur, Srengseng Sawah, South Cipete, South Gandaria, Lebak Bulus, Pondok Labu, South Grogol, Cipulir, South Kebayoran Lama, Pondok Pinang and Bintaro.
East Jakarta: Kayu Putih, Rawamangun, Cipinang Muara, North Cipinang Besar, Bidara Cina, Klender, Duren Sawit, Cawang, Cililitan, Kramat Jati, Cipinang Melayu, Halim Perdana Kusumah, Lubang Buaya, Jatinegara and Penggilingan.
Central Jakarta: East and West Cempaka Putih, Menteng and Kampung Rawa.
West Jakarta: Kamal, Kalideres, Kemanggisan, Kelapa Dua, North Sukabumi, Jelambar and Keagungan.
South Jakarta: East and West Tebet, Kebon Baru, Pasar Minggu, Jagakarsa, Selong and North Gandaria.
East Jakarta: South Utan Kayu, Pondok Kelapa, Batu Ampar, Kebon Pala, Gedong, Rambutan, Susukan, Ciracas, Kelapa Dua Wetan and Cibubur.