Preventing mosquito-borne diseases – Are you ready to #StopTheCount?

Mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children

Sidra Iqbal May 01, 2015
Anyone bitten by a mosquito knows what a nuisance they really are. The bites swell, they often itch for days and, if you are like me, you’ll scratch them over and over again till it becomes worse.

However, mosquitoes can be dangerous as well, and it is important to understand the diseases they bring with themselves. Mosquitoes are the deadliest insect on the planet due to the diseases they transmit through their bites. Nobody wants to be a fear-monger but as per facts, a child dies from a mosquito-borne disease every minute.

It has been two years since I have been involved in raising awareness about mosquito-borne disease prevention. Last year, we focused on the prevention of the spread of dengue, and implemented the campaign with a blood donation drive and awareness workshop.

Mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children and the elderly in developing countries like Pakistan. #StopTheCount, a campaign initiated by Mortein, calls upon each one of us to contribute as responsible and aware citizens in this fight against bringing the mortality numbers down, especially for young innocent children who are the future of our country.

Photo:Sidra Iqbal

This year, I led awareness interactions with child patients and their attendants in hospitals. I also got an opportunity to engage with street children. This was our initiative to impart valuable mosquito-bite prevention tips to the most vulnerable group amongst us – the children.

To fill the amenities gap, we also installed bed nets in children wards of government hospitals in all major cities of Pakistan and distributed mosquito repellent solutions as a habit starter. On busy traffic junctures, you may have spotted the #StopTheCount mobile mosquito repellent dispensers making mosquito-bite protection available to the underprivileged. I believe these efforts can go a long way in making a difference.

It is important for us to understand the best ways to protect ourselves against mosquitoes are in fact the simplest. The first step is to understand mosquitoes.

Where mosquitoes are usually found?

While they are most active at dawn and dusk, they are out and about during all times of the day. They are usually found in areas with more vegetation as they mainly feed on plants. However, female mosquitoes need blood to lay their eggs.

If you are going to enjoy the sun around some water, make sure the water isn’t stagnant. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, as the eggs won’t survive in moving water. They don’t usually travel far from their breeding grounds, so you are bound to find a lot of mosquitoes wherever you find standing water.

Cover up

If you are going to be in an area where you know there will be mosquitoes, consider wearing a loose long-sleeved shirt and pants. Loose clothing is harder for mosquitoes to bite you through.

Become a part of #StopTheCount

More importantly, you can get involved. If you would like to play a part in raising awareness and saving precious lives, then it couldn’t be easier. We all love taking selfies, but this time there is a bonus of doing that for a worthy cause.

Take a selfie with a child on the street who you feel lacks the basic requirements to lead a safe, disease-free life and upload it on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #StopTheCount. Mortein promises to match the number of selfies/statuses and ensure an equal number is reached with our awareness and protection drive.

Photo:Sidra Iqbal

It is imperative that each one of us ensures that we do our part in protecting these kids who are as much a part of Pakistan as any.

So let’s unite for this cause: Let’s #StopTheCount!
Sidra Iqbal Sidra Iqbal is an internationally acclaimed journalist and development activist from Pakistan. She is an ICANN Fellow and the Societal Ambassador for Mortein. She tweets at @SidraIqbal (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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