CityNet Secretariat successfully organized a series of city-to-city (C2C) cooperation sessions on Dengue fever prevention and preparedness on 6-7 February. The C2C sessions were organized based on a request from the Mayor of Lalitpur, Mr. Chiri Babu Maharjan, during the 42nd Executive Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur, on 23 September 2022. Prior to the session, the Senior Program Officer of the Secretariat, Ms. Danbee Lee, conducted an inspection visit to Lalitpur in December 2022 to better assess the needs of the city to design a customized C2C for Lalitpur Metropolitan City.
Based on the inspection visit and pre-consultation session, the focus area was narrowed down to the following criteria; Briefing of the Dengue Situation; Control of Dengue; Institutional Preparation & Capacity Building; Community Management & Engagement; Public Awareness; Data Collection & Management; and Treatment during Specific Circumstances such as the double epidemic of Dengue and COVID-19.
From Lalitpur’s side, Ms. Devi Thapa Gurung (Programme Coordinator of the Health Department) attended and Mr. Raju Maharjan (Head of the Social Development Committee of LMC) joined to brief on Lalitpur’s preparation and response from last year to Dengue.
The first session was organized for Lalitpur and the City Government of Makati. The resource speaker from Makati, Dr. Johanne Florence C. Legaspi (Head of the City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit) shared Makati’s strategy for vector surveillance control by installing an ovi-larvae trap throughout the year for every household. As Dengue has been around in the Philippines even before World War II, a well-constructed protocol for prevention and response to Dengue is expected to be helpful for Lalitpur to benchmark preparations for this year’s Dengue season, which is expected to start in June.
The second session was organized for Lalitpur and Colombo Municipal Council. The resource speaker, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni (Chief Medical Officer of the Public Health Department), especially focused on data management as the city has established a data management system in cooperation with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The data system has now more than five years of data, which enables the city to analyze the climate and predict the Dengue peak in advance. The city government’s enforcement and reward system for those who do and do not abide by the sanitation regulations was also educational for Lalitpur to benchmark.
In the session with Colombo, an expert from WHO Nepal, Dr. Mukesh Poudel (Technical Assistance Malaria Surveillance M&E of the Department of Communicable Diseases), joined to assess the situation in Lalitpur prior to the last final session between Lalitpur and WHO Nepal, which the Secretariat is currently planning for a consultation session to create an action plan together before the Dengue season starts in Lalitpur this year.
Mr. Kendra Hirata (Executive Director of CityNet-Plus Arts Center for Creative Partnerships) and Dr. Ganesh Kumar Jimee (Deputy Executive Director of NSET) commented at the end of each session on the importance of data management for prediction as well as cooperation with neighboring cities that have a high volume of commuters.
The design of this C2C project is expected to be replicated in the near future for CityNet members. Through these C2C sessions, the cities built a cooperative relationship which led them to plan follow-up activities including Lalitpur and Colombo’s study visit to Makati on Dengue during Dengue Awareness Month in June during the time of the Disaster Cluster Seminar.
Danbee Lee is a Senior Program Officer at CityNet and has a background in International Security and Economics. Prior to joining CityNet, she worked at a research institute based in Seoul to conduct academic research on city revitalization and the role of local entrepreneurship in community building. She graduated with BA in Political Science and Economics, and completed her MA in International Security & Foreign Policy and International Development Cooperation. Some of her responsibilities at CityNet include coordinating with members in several countries and overall coordination of CityNet legislative meetings.