First mosquitoes with Wolbachia released in the Pacific
The World Mosquito Program, in collaboration with local health authorities and partners, is working to help protect Pacific communities from mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
The cornerstone of our approach is community support and participation. In the Pacific, there is a lot of enthusiasm and interest from community members who are looking forward to our innovation being rolled out in their areas. Community members are participating in activities run by our community engagement staff, including hosting egg release containers and BG traps.
Our Pacific mascot, pictured, is front and centre of our communication campaigns, helping WMP staff and health workers communicate our innovation in an engaging way. In Vanuatu, a Wolbachia parade was held in March, in Kiribati, a Wolbachia community celebration was held in July, while Fiji are looking forward to their upcoming Wolbachia concert.
We have developed a public acceptance approach that has enabled us to gauge community support for our safe, natural and effective Wolbachia method in our release areas in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. With public acceptance measured and attained in all three countries, WMP teams in Vanuatu, Fiji and Kiribati have commenced releases of mosquitoes with Wolbachia.
Jasa Veremalua, a member of the gold medal winning Fiji Sevens side has been adding some extra "muscle" to our work in Fiji as a World Mosquito Program Ambassador. Jasa is helping to raise awareness of our safe, natural and effective Wolbachia method because he’s passionate about innovative methods to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases in his home country.
"I'm proud to be an ambassador for the World Mosquito Program because mosquito-borne diseases are a big issue in our country," Jasa says.
"I really encourage communities to support WMP and be a part of the solution in fighting these potentially deadly viruses."
Learn more about our work in the Pacific.