How to control water-borne dengue disease outbreak is a serious concern posing a challenge to countries in South-East Asia. Dengue threatens nearly 1.3 billion people with frequent and largescale outbreaks, and control malaria, that continues to be endemic in the region, according to WHO report. Hence, countries in WHO South-East Asia have resolved to intensify efforts to tackle the dengue menace.
“We need to intensify multi-sectoral approach at the national as well as the grassroots level to reach the most vulnerable and marginalized communities, strengthen surveillance, operationalize cross-border collaboration and most importantly promote vector control,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director WHO South-East Asia, said at the Regional Committee session, which concluded in Delhi on Friday.
Countries in South-East Asia are at an increasing risk of dengue and other vector borne diseases, Hence, the member countries of WHO South East Asia have adopted a resolution in the 71st session to prioritise dengue control and malaria elimination. The member countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste. They account for one-fourth of the global population, 58 per cent of the global burden of Plasmodium vivax malaria, according to WHO statement.
Reviewing the progress, challenges, capacities and opportunities for strengthening health workforce, the countries agreed to continue to focus on frontline workers, improve rural retention and transformative education, and increase coordination between health and other ministries.
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The Regional Committee session adopted the ‘Delhi Declaration’ with Member countries committing to make essential medical products accessible and affordable to all, both within the Region and beyond. The session adopted another resolution which seeks to strengthen emergency medical teams (EMTs) to enhance preparedness in WHO South-East Asia, prone to natural disasters.