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Expert coalition announces region's first call-to-action charter urging prioritization of dengue efforts to combat disease burden

2016-02-25 14:00
--- Calls on governments in Asia to support coordinated efforts
--- Encourages an integrated approach including vaccines

BANGKOK, Thailand, Feb. 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading experts state that urgent action is needed to combat dengue in Asia following the inaugural Asia Dengue Summit in January this year. Key stakeholders comprising leading regional clinicians, researchers, public health leaders, government officials and policymakers helped to jointly discuss the needs and priorities for action, captured in the call-to-action charter announced today.

The charter highlights the collective efforts and actions required in dengue prevention and control. It has been endorsed by a coalition comprising the Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA), a scientific working group, in partnership with the Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) -- International Vaccine Institute, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network (SEAMEO TROPMED) and the Fondation Merieux (FMx).

Experts acknowledge that the factors highlighted in the implementation of the WHO Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control are crucial to reducing dengue mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25% by the year 2020. This will be achieved by health services identifying early cases, implementing appropriate management of severe cases and training health personnel together with coordinated surveillance, vaccination, vector control and implementation research[1].

In the last 50 years, dengue has become endemic in 128 countries, where about 4 billion people live[2,3]. This marks a 30-fold increase in dengue incidence[2,3]. Over 700 people are infected by dengue per minute, globally[4].

Asia has the highest dengue burden in the world with an estimated 70% of the global population at risk. Endemic countries in Asia have spent nearly US $6.5 billion annually in both direct medical and indirect costs due to dengue[5]. This growing threat warrants urgent and immediate action that can contain the rapid spread of dengue in Asia where nearly 67 million people contract the disease each year[4].

Speaking on the launch of the Call-to-Action charter, Professor Usa Thisyakorn, Professor of Pediatrics at Chulalongkorn University and Chairman of ADVA said, "The Asia Dengue Summit was a historic event which brought health leaders and leading experts together for the first time to support countries in Asia in their fight against dengue. The success of the Summit signals a new awareness on the urgency for disease control and prevention. The charter calls on regional governments to support collaborative efforts in successfully combating the increasing incidence of dengue and calls on appropriate actions to achieve this".

"By fostering greater cooperation between various agencies and organisations, we can maximise the use of our resources in raising dengue as a health priority in this most affected region," said Dr. Pratap Singhasivanon, Secretary-General of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network.

The alarming rise of dengue cases is expected to continue, in part, due to external and environmental factors such as climate change, this year's effects from El Nino, large-scale urbanisation and the ease of international travel.

With the first dengue vaccine now a reality, countries in Asia will have a potentially effective tool to combat the virus. So far, four countries in the world, Mexico, Philippines, El Salvador and Brazil, have approved the vaccine and it is under review by regulatory authorities in several other countries in both Asia and Latin America.

Vaccines will be a useful addition to national dengue prevention and control programs which have not always been successful in reducing the number of cases. Integrated dengue control efforts which combine the impact of the vaccine together with other effective strategies will give us a winning chance in the fight against dengue.

Dr. In-Kyu Yoon, Director of the Dengue Vaccine Initiative said, "It is imperative for research and development to continue in the field of dengue prevention and control, and to ensure related research initiatives which have long term positive impacts, are funded sustainably."

The charter:

  • Calls on countries, depending on their decision on vaccine registration, to develop and implement dengue vaccination programmes that are carefully controlled and closely integrated with other control strategies and the needs and constraints of the health system
  • Calls on countries to ensure that, if dengue vaccine is introduced, implementation programmes are monitored and tracked, and evaluated for safety, effectiveness and acceptance through sound risk communication and management plans, with good communications, active surveillance, laboratory support and clinical management
  • Calls for integration of efforts by various initiatives and associations to monitor developments in vaccine and vector control implementation and to engage governments and international organisations for vaccine introduction in endemic countries
  • Calls for the political will and commitment to accelerate effective dengue prevention and control interventions, including strengthening health systems and ensuring sustainable financing
  • Calls on relevant organizations and institutions to continue performing and supporting research to further enhance the impact of vaccination, including biomedical and clinical research, mathematical modelling, implementation and operational research, and post-licensure studies
  • Calls on the WHO and other global and regional organisations and initiatives to give higher priority to dengue prevention and control, provide continued leadership, guidance and technical support to countries on the possible introduction of dengue vaccine, and assist with implementation strategies, as well as assisting countries in obtaining sustainable financing

Dr. Valentina Picot, Scientific and Research Advisor of Fondation Merieux said, "Sustainable financing models are integral to the success of dengue prevention and control programs. This has to be a shared responsibility between regional entities and global organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), to assist countries in obtaining sustainable financing to support implementation of vaccination programs as part of a holistic solution to alleviate dengue burden in the region".

Thailand is bracing itself for a higher number of infections in 2016 as dengue cases hit a record of 140,000 last year, the highest since the 1987 mega-outbreak crisis of 170,000 cases[6]. The National Environment Agency has also estimated the number of dengue cases in Singapore to exceed 30,000 cases this year, compared to the record of 22,170 cases in 2013[7].

To view the full Call To Action document please visit here.

About the organisers of Asia Dengue Summit 2016


The Asian Dengue Vaccine Advocacy (ADVA) is a scientific working group dedicated to dengue vaccine advocacy in Asia, with the aim of disseminating information and making recommendations on dengue vaccine introduction strategies in Asia.

Website: http://adva.asia/

The Dengue Vaccine Initiative (DVI) is a consortium of 4 organisations – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI), World Health Organisation Initiative for Vaccine Research (IVR), International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) and Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI).

Website: http://www.denguevaccines.org/



SEAMEO TROPMED Network is the regional cooperation network for education, training and research in tropical medicine and public health, which is parked under the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education. The Network aims to become and international forum for development in health and is working towards developing the capacity of institutions and individuals in delivering quality healthcare.

Website: http://seameotropmednetwork.org/

Fondation Merieux is an independent family foundation that fights infectious diseases affecting developing countries. The FMx mission is to strengthen local capacities of developing countries so as to reduce the impact of infectious diseases on vulnerable populations.

Website: http://www.fondation-merieux.org/

Media Contact for ADVA:

Shruti Bose, +65-6825-8018
SBose@webershandwick.com

Clarinda Ng, +65-6825-8042
CNg2@webershandwick.com

Sources:



[1]

World Health Organisation; Dengue and severe dengue; http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs117/en/

[2]

Ibid.

[3]

World Health Organisation; Impact of Dengue; http://www.who.int/csr/disease/dengue/impact/en/

[4]

Nature. 2013 Apr 25;496(7446):504-7 

[5]

Shepard DS, Halasa YA, Undurraga EA, Stanaway J. Global economic cost of dengue illness. Poster presented at: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting; Oct. 25-29, 2015, Philadelphia, PA, Poster 781 

[6]

Channel NewsAsia; Thailand braces for 'mega-outbreak' of Dengue fever; http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thailand-braces-for-mega/2465766.html

[7]

Channel NewsAsia; More than 30,000 dengue cases expected in Singapore this year: NEA, MOH, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/more-than-30-000-dengue/2526522.html

Source: Asian Dengue Vaccination Advocacy (ADVA)
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