ASEAN and WHO gear up for regionwide dengue action

News release

MANILA, 9 May 2011—The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN and the World Health Organization WHO have joined forces to assist Asia Pacific countries in identifying priority actions for dengue prevention and control. Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world and Asia Pacific bears 75% of the current global dengue disease burden. The disease has large impact on health, the economy and the entire society.

At a workshop in Manila, Philippines, from 3 to 5 May 2011, representatives of ASEAN Member States recognized the need to extend advocacy for dengue prevention and control to all sectors of the society. They also shared their national plans for the forthcoming simultaneous launch of the ASEAN Dengue Day on 15 June 2011.

Advocacy plans will centre on calls for shared responsibility and the need for everyone to act. "Dengue prevention and control is a shared responsibility," said Dr. Ferdinal Fernando, Assistant Director of the Health and Communicable Diseases Division of the ASEAN Secretariat. "Unless everybody plays their role, dengue will not be controlled."

Participants also agreed to move from response-driven activities to long-term prevention and preparedness, strengthening national and regional alert and response capacities, as well as enhancing regional collaboration. "Dengue will continue to be a problem as the world faces population growth, greater urbanization, increases in population movements and variations in climate," said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, Director of the Division of Health Security and Emergencies, WHO-Western Pacific Regional Office. "We have to go beyond reacting to taking action all year round."