Community joins release ceremony in Bantul

Community members and local governments welcomed the launch of field trials in the Bantul district of Yogyakarta this week, when a ceremony was held to mark the placement of egg release containers in Jomblangan.

Sri Paduka Paku Alam IX, Deputy Governor of Yogyakarta, symbolically placed the first egg release container at a local family’s home on December 8, 2014. Our Indonesian project team will use these containers to release Wolbachia mosquitoes in the communities of Singosaren and Jomblangan over the coming months. With permission, we place containers on residents’ properties. The containers hold mosquito eggs, which hatch and develop into adult Wolbachia mosquitoes then fly into the environment. Our aim is to establish Wolbachia in the local mosquito population, which we expect will reduce local dengue transmission.

More than 200 invited guests took part in the ceremony in Jomblangan, including community members, government representatives and local health officials. Yogyakarta Governor and Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, in a speech read by the Deputy Governor, expressed his support and said he hoped that the research would lead to a reduction in dengue in the community. Dr Pramudi Darmawan, M. Kes, of the Bantul District Health Office, expressed a similar sentiment. “We sincerely hope that this program can be successful so that it can help reduce the numbers of dengue fever,” he said.

Prof Adi Utarini, Eliminate Dengue Indonesia Project Leader, said she appreciated the support of communities and the local government for the research in Bantul. “The Wolbachia method is not intended to replace existing efforts, but to improve it,” she said.

The field trials in Bantul follow on from trials earlier this year in the Sleman district of Yogyakarta. With community support, we released Wolbachia mosquitoes once a week from January to June in areas of Kronggahan and Nogotirto. We are seeing promising results from our ongoing mosquito monitoring, with over 70-80% of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in our release areas now carrying Wolbachia.