Address vector-borne diseases: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday called for strengthening the health system across India to address the threat of vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria.

“The World Health Day campaign ‘small bite: big threat’ brings renewed focus on sustainable control, elimination and eradication of vector-borne diseases,” WHO representative to India Nata Menabde said at a national consultation organised by the health ministry and the WHO.

“It is only through strengthening of health systems with effective stewardship, enhanced collaboration across agencies, sectors, and all levels of government, and implementation of regulatory mechanisms that the challenge of vector-borne diseases in India can be addressed,” she added.

With vector-borne diseases endemic in more than 100 low and middle-income countries across the world and accounting for 17 percent of the global burden of communicable diseases, more than half the world’s population is at risk.

A panel discussion deliberated on India’s strategy for eliminating malaria. The issue of dengue as a major public health problem was also discussed, including measures like behavioural change communication and effective inter-sectoral coordination that India should undertake to curb dengue.

In a major step forward, the Indian government and WHO recently conducted a Joint Monitoring Mission on vector-borne diseases to review progress, identify challenges and provide state-of-the-art advice on strategic issues, including how best to improve the integration of vector-borne diseases with the general health system in the country.

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