Engage Engineers, Not Doctors, To Control Dengue

Septic tanks are also major breeding grounds. They should be banned in urban areas anyway; houses and buildings there should be connected to a central sewer system instead.

M. Bakri Musa


Florida in the summer has the same hot and humid climate as Malaysia. Its topography too is like Malaysia, with plenty of swamps and other stagnant bodies of water. Unlike Malaysians however, Floridians are not regularly threatened with outbreaks of dengue.


The secret is not that Florida has more and better doctors than Malaysia (although that is true) rather that Florida engages its civil engineers and not medical doctors to control vector-driven diseases like dengue. That is much more effective as well as cheaper, both in financial costs and human suffering.


While it is commendable that Dr. Ismail Merican, the Ministry of Health’s Director-General, is spearheading public awareness of dengue during this latest outbreak – the most severe – he is not the best person to do that. Neither his professional background nor his regular duties prepares him for this awesome responsibility. His ministry is not the most appropriate agency to undertake this monumental task.