Dengue fever, filariasis and malaria
South Pacific situation summary
The incidence of dengue fever in the Pacific is rising due to increased urbanization which results in more breeding sites for the main vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito. WHO provides assistance to mobilize communities, to deny breeding sites to mosquitoes including waste disposal, biological or chemical treatment of stored water and coverage of water containers.
Lymphatic filariasis is one of the world's leading causes of permanent and long-term disability. The disease has a serious impact on the health and the socioeconomic status of the people affected. Elimination of lymphatic filariasis can be achieved through annual mass drug administration of diethylcarbamazine (DEC) or ivermectin in combination with albendazole (ALB). To reach the goal of elimination, high coverage rates during the mass drug administrations need to be sustained for at least 4-6 years. Lymphatic filariasis is currently endemic in 11 of the PICTs covered by WHO/SP.
Solomon Islands has the highest level of malaria transmission in the Asia Pacific region and during the civil unrest in 1999-2003 the incidence of the mosquito-borne disease soared in the absence of national control measures. With guidance from WHO and support from AusAid, the Global Fund, JICA and Rotary Against Malaria, the global Roll Back Malaria initiative revitalized anti-malaria efforts. By 2006, malaria deaths had fallen by 50%.
In Vanuatu WHO has been providing continuous support to the malaria control program since the early 1960s. In the 1990s with the support of WHO Vanuatu achieved the eradication of malaria on the island of Aneytium in the South of the archipelago. Since then this has been used as an example of the possibility of eliminating malaria under certain circumstances. In 2000 WHO strongly and actively supported the development of the Vanuatu Country Coordination Mechanism (VCCM) which brought together for the time all partners involved in malaria control including the Ministry of Health, AusAid, Rotary Against Malaria and various NGOs. This is now a well established and well functioning body which coordinates all Global Funds activities.