Health workers in South East Asia are getting ready for the annual onslaught of the dengue fever virus. On June 15 ASEAN held its 2016 annual designated Dengue Day in its 10 member states.
Dengue places enormous costs on countries in Southeast – social, economic and human. It is estimated that of the 2.5 billion people at risk of getting dengue, more than half, 1.8 billion, live in the Asia Pacific region.
In a public statement released to promote awareness and to combat the deadly mosquito borne virus, organisers said that ASEAN countries planned a range of activities.
“The Philippines will revitalize the “4 o’clock habit,” a Department of Health campaign inciting community members to search and destroy mosquito breeding places every day at 4:00 p.m.”
Vietnam plans to hold it 3rd ASEAN Dengue Day In Hanoi, on June 14, “focusing on The Hanoi Call for Action on Combating Dengue. An official ceremony will take place on June 15, with a parade through the streets of Hanoi.”
Malaysia, plans to launch an educational video and copies to be distributed to schools, “a number of seminars and public information sessions on prevention and disease will also be held.”
Singapore, Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) and National Environment Agency (NEA) has “exhibitions in public hospitals to highlight the dangers of dengue fever. A scientific seminar and symposium will also be held to share research information.”
Ms Aya Tabata, the director of the Stop Dengue, Protect your Family campaign said in an earlier interview with Karen News estimates by Thailand’s Public Health Ministry had documented that 141 people had died and as many as 141,375 cases of dengue fever were recorded for 2015.
Ms Tabata said public awareness campaigns played a crucial part in the control of dengue.
“If people are made aware of what they have to do and when they need to do it and can understand the information it can have a massive impact on curbing the mosquitoes breeding.”
As part of the ASEAN Dengue Day awareness activities, “Thailand will organize a competition in partnership with the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailand, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Education and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration. Country-wide, Thai school children will be asked to submit drawings linked to dengue, prevention, disease and education.”
Indonesia has plans to target “primary healthcare doctors in a scientific education meeting and will also be involving communities in educational sessions and competitions to demonstrate their role in the fight against dengue.”
Ms Tabata warned that school students are a high risk group.
“Research shows that school students are a high risk group. Thailand’s Ministry of Health’s Department of Disease Control found that as of July 27, 2015 – 39,597 people had been diagnosed by a Thai hospital with dengue fever. The MoH statistics found that almost one in two of those infected were school students, a staggering 42.8% in 2015.”