Seychelles: Dengue Outbreak Emergency Plan of Action Final Report DREF Operation n° MDRSC004

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Between January - May 2016, Seychelles experienced an exponential increase in the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever. The outbreak was in all five regions of the country, with approximately 253 persons tested positive for dengue as from January up till 21 May 2016, as reported by the Ministry of Health. More specifically there was an exponential increase in the number of confirmed cases from week 16 onwards with the peak (66 cases) in week 19. In total 175 males and 96 females tested positive.

This trend was a gross underestimation of the real situation on the ground, which was much worse, since people who suffered the milder form of the disease were not seeking medical attention. In the month of May, 75 cases were reported. Every region on Mahé was affected, and more cases were being reported in the four districts of La Riviere Anglaise, Anse Royale, Anse Etoile and Beau Vallon, with one case in Praslin Island.

As of 12 July 2016, the Ministry of Health confirmed the total number of cases as 1,062, with the outbreak extending to all five regions of the country, the 5 most affected districts being La Riviere Anglaise, (101 cases), Anse Royal (99 cases), Anse Etoile (82 cases), Beau Vallon (78 cases) and Point La Rue (62 cases). For more details see Operations Update no. 1 and the table below.

The revised operation objective was therefore to reduce the risk of spread of the dengue virus for 16,392 persons in the five most affected districts of Seychelles and sensitizing approximately 53,000 persons on dengue fever via radio programmes.

The majority of the baseline respondents preferred the use of repellent as opposed to using mosquito nets and their main reason for not buying repellent was the inhibitive cost and limited availability of repellent in Seychelles. To this effect, the National Society procured and distributed repellent to the targeted population instead of mosquito nets.

Summary of response Overview of Host National Society

The Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS) is the only recognized humanitarian organization responding to humanitarian needs in Seychelles. RCSS has a good network of volunteers and works in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM). The RCSS was also in close communication with French Red Cross’ Regional Platform “PIROI” to provide updated outbreak information. and established a national alert for the headquarters and its three branches in the country to support actions of the Ministry of Health to prevent and contain the dengue fever outbreak. Although not part of this DREF operation, during the period December 2015 - May 2016, the RCSS donated 100 mosquito nets (which were part of the PIROI regional pre-positioned stock) to the Ministry of Health, to be used as a protection measure at clinics and hospitals.

The Red Cross Society of Seychelles centered its efforts in the five most affected communities to support the Ministry of Health in community awareness and sensitization of the dengue fever. Major activities supported through this DREF operation include survey (assessment/baseline/end line), volunteer trainings, sensitization, awareness campaigns, distribution of mosquito repellent and lesson learned exercise.

The Red Cross Society of Seychelles conducted a workshop for its staff and volunteers supported by a Regional Disaster Regional Team (RDRT) member to enhance their knowledge on the virus to better inform the community on vector control and the Red Cross activities. Following the training, the National Society conducted awareness campaigns and distribution of mosquito repellent targeting huge crowds at national events and door to door distribution in close collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government / District Administration.

Billboards, leaflets and radio slots were developed and used as information and communication tools for the public during the operation. The RCSS attended coordination meetings organized by the Ministry of Health on a weekly basis. From the end of August 2016 these meetings were conducted on a bi weekly basis. With the support of an IFRC staff, the RCSS conducted a baseline survey using the KOBO Toolbox which is a free opensource tool for mobile data collection. It was employed in the four affected districts to inform the National Society on the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of affected communities in relation to dengue fever. Based on the information gathered from the baseline survey, the National Society designed its information, education and communication (IEC) materials and billboards to capture adapted and relevant messages.

The National Society was trained by IFRC staff on the use of KOBO and how to develop an online survey for mobile data collection. Thereafter, an end line survey was conducted to measure the outcomes of its intervention related to knowledge, practice and behaviour change during the process of the operation.