Address by Dr Juliet Fleischl for the celebration of ASEAN Dengue Day

Dr Juliet Fleischl
WHO Representative to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
17 June 2014, Sikhottabong District Governor’s Office, Vientiane

Your Excellency, Minister of Health, Dr Eksavang Vongvichit; Distinguished guests and colleagues; Ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of the World Health Organization, I am pleased to be invited for the celebration of ASEAN Dengue Day to express our solidarity with the member states of ASEAN, in marking this important day.

Dengue continues to remain a serious public health threat in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the region. This disease, for which there is no vaccine, has had a significant impact on people’s health, the economy and the society as a whole.

Dengue is a shared responsibility, and therefore the theme for this year’s ASEAN Dengue Day is “ASEAN Unity and Harmony: Key in the Fight against Dengue”.

This theme is especially important to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as the country experienced the worst dengue epidemic in its history last year. Out of a total of 44 171 reported dengue cases, there were 95 deaths.

ASEAN Dengue Day, which is being celebrated in Vientiane capital and 12 provinces, serves to remind the public of the impact of dengue on their communities, and to mobilize the villagers for vector control as we move into rainy season.

Our message to all is to clean your house regularly, at least once a week, for a dengue-free community.

Every individual can contribute to prevent the spread of dengue by eliminating all sources of stagnant water, which are potential mosquito-breeding sites in and around their house.

With the onset of the rainy season, water could have accumulated in discarded water containers, tyres, roof gutters and open drains. Every family member can get involved and help clean up around their house; these simple activities can make a big difference for vector control.

In addition, I would also like to call on all levels of government to lead community efforts to control mosquitoes and combat dengue. One of the key lessons learnt during last year’s dengue response was the importance of local government commitment and leadership in combating dengue.

As always, WHO stands ready to support the Government and the Ministry of Health in your surveillance, laboratory, clinical management and vector control activities to monitor the dengue situation in the country.

Dengue is a shared problem; it is our shared responsibility to unite in our fight against dengue.

Thank you.