ASEAN and WHO call for united fight against dengue

News release

JAKARTA, 15 June 2011—At the launch of Dengue Day, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) today called on all sectors of society to unite in the battle against the disease, which has developed into a formidable threat to health in Asia.

ASEAN Dengue Day Celebration was identified by the Health Ministers of the 10 ASEAN Member States in 2010 as an annual event to be held every June 15 to increase public awareness on dengue prevention and control. Activities are being conducted at regional, national and sub-national levels to raise awareness. For this year, the Republic of Indonesia has led the preliminary activities for this official launching. These activities such as the ASEAN Dengue Conference, Regional Dengue Logo Competition, and other national initiatives help increase public and government awareness about the disease as well as promote commitment from all health and non-health stakeholders.

A Jakarta Call for Action on the Control and Prevention of Dengue is one of the major outputs of the Jakarta conference, which specifies the commitment from all stakeholders and calls for enhanced collaboration and cooperation from all sectors.

"As we strengthen our community-building efforts, ASEAN Member States are committed to working together for the health security of the peoples of ASEAN, and dengue is one of our priority diseases for action", said the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.

"Tackling dengue is everyone's concern, delegates to the conference agreed. The disease cannot be fought by the health sector alone. All sectors need to collaborate", said Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

"Dengue respects no boundaries and our region needs to move from response-driven activities to long-term prevention and preparedness-driven approaches", said Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. "A proactive approach will make better use of our resources and minimize negative health, social and economic impacts of dengue."

Asia Pacific bears 75% of the current global disease burden from dengue. ASEAN has the highest number of dengue infections in the Asia Pacific and this has significant impact on the socio-economic status of the Member States.

For more information, please contact Dr Jeff Partridge, Epidemiologist, Emerging Disease Surveillance and Response, at +63 2 528 9732; e-mail: partridgej@wpro.who.int.

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