KUALA LUMPUR : Residents at elite neighbourhoods often keep to themselves and shy away from community activities, and the Taman Fern Grove neighbourhood in Cheras, near here, is no exception.
However, this changed when news of Aedes mosquito threat reached the residents and thus they revived the spirit of gotong-royong (communal undertaking).
Taman Fern Grove Residents’ Association secretary T.Ravishanker admitted that it was not easy to carry out something that was out of the norm in the neighbourhood.
Yet, they managed to pull it off with the cooperation of the Hulu Langat Health Office.
After the series of gotong-royong held since May, with 12 being held so far, no dengue cases were reported in the neighbourhood that has a multiracial population of about 500 people.
Three dengue cases reported there in early 2015 had sparked concern, but residents have started to sigh in relief after no new cases were reported.
NO MORE DENGUE
The Taman Fern Grove Residents’ Association was formed five years ago under the leadership of Datuk Hod Parman, to plan various activities for the resident’s well-being.
The greatest challenge is gathering the residents together for gotong-royong despite their busy schedules.
Ravishanker said his hectic work life as managing director of Centium Software Sdn Bhd, an information technology outfit based in Cheras, did not stop him from rallying his neighbours.
“We cleaned the drains, cleared the bushes and beautified the landscape with trees. We want to eradicate any Aedes breeding grounds,” he told Bernama as he showed off the elite neighbourhood.
He is grateful for the fact that the residents are united in their fight against dengue regardless of their background or affiliations.
The Hulu Langat Health Education officer Zulkifly Musa’s determination was also a contributing factor to the success.
When Zulkifly proposed the gotong-royong five months ago, Ravishanker took it as a challenge to get all residents to participate.
The challenge was not in holding one event, but 12 gotong-royong events as suggested by Zulkifly.
Zulkifly was confident that residents of Taman Fern Grove would respond well to his idea because everyone wants to live in a clean and healthy environment free from disease.
DEPLOYING EXTRA HELP
After setting a schedule for the gotong-royongs, Zulkifly mobilised personnel from the Hulu Langat Health Office to conduct door-to-door checks on houses that were considered potential Aedes mosquitoes breeding ground.
Used tyres and pots with stagnant water are among the places that Aedes mosquitoes like to breed.
Currently, Hulu Langat district has the second highest number of dengue cases in Selangor after Petaling district.
According to records, the district with over 1.2 million residents has recorded over 9,400 dengue cases from January to Aug 11, with a total of 20 deaths.
Zulkifly is confident that both the dengue and fatality numbers can decrease if residents work hard to fight the Aedes mosquitoes.
Meanwhile, for Zulkifly, working a seven-day week has become a norm, especially with the rise in dengue cases in the country.
“It makes me happy when Aedes breeding grounds are eradicated and I like to join in the gotong-royong for the sake of the people’s well-being,” he said.
The cleanliness of a location or housing area is more meaningful if the neighbouring areas also practice cleanliness.
This is because a house that breeds Aedes also puts its neighbours at risk.
SELANGOR A DENGUE HOTSPOT
So far, 73,000 dengue cases were reported nationwide since January, with Selangor having the highest number of cases.
Records state over 41,000 dengue cases in Selangor, involving 92 deaths until Aug 11. Labuan recorded the lowest number of dengue cases (two) with no deaths.
Dengue statistics are most likely to spike should there be no efforts to eradicate the Aedes mosquitoes. Yet, the mosquitoes cannot solely be blamed for the dengue.
It is up to the community and relevant agencies to do their best to stamp out Aedes breeding grounds and create an Aedes-free environment for all to enjoy. – Bernama