WHO for strengthening health systems in SE Asia region to eliminate vector-borne diseases
Published : 10 Sep 2017, 13:15:17
Expressing concern over the intensity of outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya in the South East Asia region, World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the member countries to strengthen health systems' capacities to eliminate existing vector-borne diseases in the region.
"A more holistic and integrated approach, along with improved capacities at national and sub-national levels, are vital to effectively respond to vector-borne diseases as most vector-borne diseases are preventable," said Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh here yesterday.
She said while taking part in a discussion of the five-day Seventieth Regional Committee session of WHO South-East Asia Region began at Paradise Island of Male on Wednesday in which health ministers and officials of the 111-meember countries including Bangladesh in the region joined the event.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal said in recent years the transmission dynamics and risk of vector-borne diseases have shifted due to unplanned urbanization, increased movement of people and goods, and environmental changes.
"To effectively respond to the growing risk of vector-borne diseases, countries need to strengthen coordination between health and non-health sectors, and within the health sector," she added.
The WHO Regional Director emphasized on working closely with each other's through sharing of information water, sanitation and hygiene and health management as well to eliminate the diseases from the region.
"Countries also need to establish and strengthen effective entomological surveillance systems to study local mosquito species, their susceptibility to insecticides and monitor insecticide resistance," she said.
The Regional Director said that countries in WHO South-East Asia Region need to collaborate to fill the gap of trained entomologists, strengthen cross-border collaboration for vector control and align their vector control programmes.
In this connection , she said proven and cost-effective interventions such as the use of insecticidal nets, indoor spraying, use of larvicides, and eliminating mosquito breeding sites need to be further promoted through stronger community engagement.
"Vector-borne diseases disproportionately affect poor populations and impede economic development through direct medical costs and indirect costs such as loss of productivity and impact on tourism," she added.
She said since the region bears a high burden of vector-borne diseases, including dengue, malaria and lymphatic filariasis, so all countries in the Region have been making efforts to address the problem as the full potential of vector control is yet to be realized.
Vector control is among the key issues discussed at the Seventieth session of the Regional Committee, currently being held in Maldives.
The Regional Committee is the highest decision-making body for public health in the South-East Asia Region, and includes health ministers and senior health ministry officials of the Region's Member countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
The five day WHO Regional Committee session would be concluded today through Male declaration.-BSS