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12 Oct 2016

#WHO vows to support #MSs to combat the growing #threat of vector-borne #diseases; advocates for healthy #environment (WPRO, Oct. 12 ‘16)

 

Title: #WHO vows to support #MSs to combat the growing #threat of vector-borne #diseases; advocates for healthy #environment (WPRO, Oct. 12 ‘16).

Subject: Vector-Borne diseases (dengue, chikungunya, zika); Malaria, Western Pacific Region.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO), Office for the Western Pacific Region, full page: (LINK).

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WHO vows to support Member States to combat the growing threat of vector-borne diseases in the Region; advocates for healthy environment

News release

MANILA, 11 OCTOBER 2016

In light of the continuing transmission of malaria and the recent spread and increase in cases of dengue, Zika and chikungunya, the sixty-seventh session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific today established stronger measures and recommendations to help Member States address the threats posed by these diseases.

 

A regional action plan for dengue prevention and control

Dengue causes severe health, social and economic consequences. The disease is also responsible for a reported 20 000 deaths worldwide each year. In the Western Pacific, it is an endemic disease in many countries, and recent reports indicate a near twofold increase in reported cases during the period 2008 to 2015.

In 2008, the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific endorsed the Dengue Strategic Plan for the Asia Pacific Region 2008–2015, which has served as a road map for strengthening national capacities for surveillance, clinical management, early detection, preparedness, control of outbreaks and vector control.

Although there has been progress in many areas of prevention and control under the plan, the burden of dengue in the Region continues to increase. Another challenge is the emergence of Zika and chikungunya, which share similar risk factors.

In response, the Western Pacific Regional Action Plan for Dengue Prevention and Control (2016) provides a framework of actions to enhance country- and regional-level progress towards reducing case fatality rates and mitigating the impact of dengue on health systems and communities. This new regional action plan seeks to maximize and enhance resources across the Region to deliver sustainable, effective, evidence-informed prevention and control efforts against dengue, and other Aedes-transmitted diseases especially Zika and chikungunya.

 

Eliminating malaria: an achievable goal

The Region has made significant progress in its efforts towards eliminating malaria. Nine of 10 malaria-endemic countries in the Region achieved the Millennium Development Goal target for malaria. Overall, malaria-related deaths have been reduced by over 90% since 2000, and prevalence by over 75% in eight out of 10 endemic countries.

Despite these successes, up to 40% of the nearly 1.9 billion people in the Region still remain at risk of contracting malaria. In addition, several Member States continue to battle multidrug-resistant malaria, which is a threat to regional and global health security.

In 2009, the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific endorsed the Regional Action Plan for Malaria Control and Elimination in the Western Pacific (2010–2015). However, the emergence of artemisinin resistance and its evolution into multidrug resistance in falciparum malaria has transformed malaria in the Region into a global health security threat. This threat requires urgent action to prevent spreading beyond the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). The GMS is comprised of Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and is considered the global epicentre ofPlasmodium falciparum resistance to antimalarial drugs.

In 2014, WHO recommended the elimination of falciparum malaria from GMS to combat multidrug-resistant falciparum and artemisinin resistance. Leaders in the Asia Pacific region have also called for malaria elimination by 2030.

As an important step towards this malaria elimination goal, the Regional Action Framework for Malaria in the Western Pacific 2016–2020 endorsed by the Regional Committee aims to reduce the disproportionate burden of malaria in marginalized groups and communities. The framework is guided by the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 (GTS) and strongly aligned with the Strategy for Malaria Elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion (2015–2030). It has been developed through a series of consultations between national malaria programmes and their partners, and WHO and individual technical experts.

The framework envisions the following goals: reduce malaria deaths in the Western Pacific Region by 50% and morbidity by at least 30% relative to 2015 baselines; achieve malaria elimination in three countries in the Region; and establish and maintain elimination-capable surveillance systems in all malaria-affected countries of the Western Pacific Region by 2020.

 

Actions for healthier environments for healthier people

Many diseases result from a lack of safe water and proper sanitation, indoor and outdoor air pollution, hazardous chemicals, occupational hazards and climate-related disasters. More than a quarter of the burden of disease in the Western Pacific Region, with an estimated 3.5 million lives lost annually, are related to such environmental determinants of health.

With the global endorsement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the agreement at the twenty-first session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris (the "Paris Agreement") in 2015, commitment is higher than ever for healthier environment for the future. There is an urgent need for policy and action to prevent further deterioration of the ecosystems on which our health and well-being rely.

WHO supports Member States in developing policies and programmes and implementing actions. These are in line with its health and environment constitutional mandate to promote the improvement of nutrition, housing, sanitation, recreation, economic or working conditions and other aspects of environmental hygiene.

As such, the Regional Committee has endorsed the Western Pacific Regional Framework for Action on Health and Environment on a Changing Planet. The framework indicates measures for stronger health sector focus on pressing environment-related health issues.

The framework provides guidance for Member States to prioritize efforts to improve health outcomes through action on environmental determinants and WHO work in support of those efforts.

 

For more information, please contact: Mr Eloi Yao, Public Information Officer, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, United Nations Avenue corner Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines, Telephone: +632 528 9992, Email: yaoe@who.int / Mr Ruel E. Serrano, Public Information Office, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, United Nations Avenue corner Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines, Telephone: +632 528 9993, Email: serranor@who.int

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Keywords: WHO; Updates; Asia; Dengue Fever; Chikungunya Fever; Zika Virus; Malaria.

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