'United effort needed against vector-borne diseases in South Asia'
Posted on Apr 03 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, April 3 : Vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria still have a significant impact on the socioeconomic status of countries in south Asia, the WHO said Thursday, calling for a united effort against them.
"These diseases are still killing thousands of people in the WHO southeast Asia Region," a World Health Organization release said.
Forty percent of the global population at risk of malaria lives in the WHO southeast Asia region, home to a quarter of the world's population, it said.
"These are deadly but preventable diseases. The solution lies in a united and sustained effort from all of us," said WHO regional director Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
"This region recently defeated polio, it is time for us to show the same resolve to defeat malaria, dengue and other vector-borne diseases," she added.
Vector-borne diseases account for 17 percent of the estimated global burden of all infectious diseases with malaria being endemic in 10 of the 11 countries of the region, including India.
"With mass drug administration with effective coverage, there is no reason why diseases like lymphatic filariasis cannot be eliminated from the region," said Singh.
"Countries must prioritize vector-borne diseases in their national development agendas. Communities need to be empowered to fight this battle and protect themselves. Preventing and controlling vector-borne diseases is everyone's responsibility," she said.