Mumbai, April 2 IANS | 7 months ago

Mumbai's famed "dabbawalas" will join hands with the World Health Organisation to draw attention to prevention and control vector-borne diseases (VBD), an official said here Wednesday.

The Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust (NMTBSCT) will carry a special message tag on its 200,000 plus tiffin boxes April 7 to highlight the threats by vector-borne diseases in India.

The WHO campaign, being carried out jointly with the state health ministry, is entitled "Small Bite: Big Threat".

It talks about the dangers of dengue, malaria, chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, kalaazar and Japanese encephalitis, all spread by mosquitoes and the bacteria, viruses and parasites they carry, said Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India.

"In India, the burden and risk of vector-borne diseases is massive. The burden is concentrated in remote areas of the country with the poorest health systems where the population is most exposed," Menabde said.

(from left to right) Mr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) Dr. Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India Mrs. Sujata Saunik, Secretary- Public Health, Government of Maharashtra Mr. Raghunath Medge, Ex-President, Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust

Public health secretary Sujata Saunik said the recent joint monitoring mission on vector-borne diseases in India is a step towards reviewing disease control efforts through the health systems to identify and address critical gaps.

NMTBSCT president Raghunath Medge said the "dabbawalas" would create a multiplier effect by carrying the messages to a large number of Mumbaikars through the tiffin boxes and help sensitize and inform the community.

Vector-borne diseases account for 17 percent of the estimated global burden of all infectious diseases with dengue emerging the fastest growing with a 30-fold increase in incidence in the past 50 years.

Around 70 percent of the countries and territories hit by VBDs are low income and lower-middle income with causes like climate, environmental change and globalization.

(Posted on 02-04-2014)

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