Efforts to control dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), with the help of Wolbachia, a common bacterium that stops the virus from replicating inside the mosquitoes that transmit the disease, are now being tested in the city of Yogyakarta Special Region (DIY).
This research was funded entirely by the Tahija Foundation in accordance with the Foundation's vision to achieve a better Indonesia by building partnerships for sustainable initiatives in the field of public health, education, culture, environmental protection and social services.
The study, which began in 2011 is planned to continue until 2019. The method for distributing mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia was initially piloted on a small scale in Sleman (Kronggahan and Nogotirto) from January to June 2014, and Bantul (Jomblangan and Singosaren) from December 2014 – May 2015, have shown quite satisfactory results.
Small-scale research experience in Sleman and Bantul shows that in areas where the number of Wolbachia is already high, it is able to protect the citizens from local dengue transmission.
After the test in Sleman and Bantul Wolabchia showed promising results, the study continued in a larger scale in the city of Yogyakarta which began in mid-year. This method complements efforts to prevent and combat the transmission of dengue.
The launch of this program in the city of Yogyakarta was marked by laying a bucket of aedes aegypti eggs carrying Wolbachia in front of houses in RT18 / RW5 Kelurahan Tegalrejo by the Director General of Research and Development from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Muhammad Dimyati, and Chairman of the Tahija Foundation Trustees, Dr. Sjakon G. Tahija on August 31, 2016.
This launch was followed by depositing about 1,000 buckets of eggs from August 2016. EDP-Yogya plans to deploy about 6,000 buckets, each containing 100 eggs of Wolbachia mosquitoes in residential areas gradually until 2017.
It is expected that within a certain time, Wolbachia mosquitoes will breed naturally with the local mosquito and produce Wolbachia offspring thereby inhibiting dengue virus transmission to humans.
The Directorate General of Research Strengthening and Development, from the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia said in a speech that testing the Wolbachia methods is an innovative approach in handling dengue cases. He also appreciated the contribution of Philanthropy considering that the allocation of government funds for research has not been adequate, requiring the cooperation of various parties.