Forum: Primary care providers play crucial role in dengue fight

A red alert dengue fever cluster banner along Lorong 24 Geylang on July 20, 2020.
A red alert dengue fever cluster banner along Lorong 24 Geylang on July 20, 2020.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

We thank Dr Ho Ting Fei for her letter (Dengue's impact goes beyond number of patients hospitalised, July 28).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working closely with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to put in place preventive measures against dengue, which include community outreach and public education, vector control efforts, as well as ongoing surveillance of reported dengue cases.

Primary care providers play a crucial role in the management of dengue patients. Today, more than 80 per cent of dengue cases are safely managed in an outpatient setting by primary care doctors. The timely diagnosis and management of stable dengue patients in the community ensure that hospital resources are reserved for more severe cases who require inpatient management.

In addition, primary care providers also help with gathering ground surveillance on the dengue situation.

To better support primary care providers, MOH provides regular clinical guidance on managing dengue patients within the community.

To fight against dengue, it is important to disrupt the chain of transmission through vector control and eradication of mosquito breeding spots.

MOH and NEA have also worked together to put in place preventive measures, such as providing insect repellent to private primary care clinics and polyclinics for distribution to patients suspected to have dengue infections, in order to prevent further onward transmission.

We will continue to work closely together with the various healthcare providers and other stakeholders to monitor the impact of dengue in the community, especially given the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

We would like to express our appreciation to the primary care doctors for being the first line of care and for keeping Singaporeans safe in the community.

Ruth Lim (Dr)

Director

Primary and Community Care Division

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2020, with the headline 'Primary care providers play crucial role in dengue fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe