WHO develops national strategy for dengue prevention and control

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Sana'a, Yemen, 30 June 2016 — Amid a significant increase in the number of suspected cases of dengue fever in Yemen, WHO and national programmes of the Ministry of Public Health and Population have adopted a national 5-year strategic plan to scale up preparedness and response activities for dengue fever prevention and control.

The plan was developed by 35 experts from WHO, national programmes in the Ministry of Public Health and Population and other governmental sectors, including the Ministries of Information and Education during a 2-day workshop. Key elements of the plan include:

  • strengthening the integrated surveillance system;
  • expanding the electronic diseases early warning system;
  • supporting the entomological surveillance system in high risk areas;
  • implementing additional campaigns to control the vector by insecticide spraying;
  • deploying additional human resources to the affected governorates;
  • training physicians on clinical management of dengue and intensifying health education among population.

"Adopting a national strategy for dengue control is crucial to the country's efforts to containing the spread of dengue and mobilizing more resources to combat vector-borne diseases," said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, WHO Representative for WHO Yemen. "This year, the response to the outbreak has been fraught with challenges as a result of increased insecurity and a near-collapse of the health system. In addition, recent heavy rainfall, disruption of water supplies and scarce of safe drinking-water have contributed to the spread of mosquitos in the affected areas, resulting in an upsurge in dengue cases," Dr Shadoul added.

Between January and June 2016, a total of 17796 suspected cases have been reported with 41 deaths.

Despite the insecurity and extremely limited resources, WHO, in collaboration with Ministry of Health and health partners, has implemented dengue control measures through preparedness activities including providing IV fluids and supportive treatment to the affected areas, conducting spraying activities in Al-Hudaydah, Aden and Hadramout, and providing rapid response training courses for doctors and health workers including case identification and management for dengue fever. WHO has also disseminated information, education and communication materials informing residents on how to protect themselves against dengue fever in all affected governorates.