- by Gary Finnegan

ASEAN Dengue Day is great – but it’s time to go global

Logo from ASEAN Dengue Day 2018

The annual awareness day brings Asian countries together to combat dengue fever. But dengue is a global challenge that demands a global response.

ASEAN Dengue Day marks an annual drive to bring together experts, policymakers, and the public to share solutions to the global problem of dengue fever. This year’s theme – One ASEAN Community Against Dengue – reflects the need to join forces against a major public health threat.

A series of events, including regional conferences in Singapore and Malaysia, will put dengue in the spotlight. As dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral in the Asian region, it makes sense for governments to share resources, expertise, and experience. In a region where resources can be scarce, there is also great efficiency in pooling efforts in order to avoid wasteful duplication.

This is the 10th ASEAN Dengue Day and the experience to date has shown what is possible when governments, academics, and NGOs collaborate. Although the threat of dengue has grown over the past decade, knowledge-sharing and capacity-building in the ASEAN region have blossomed.

Going global with dengue awareness

The ASEAN region faces a major dengue problem – but it is not alone. The mosquitoes that spread dengue fever know no borders and need no visas. The Americas, the Indian subcontinent – and even some EU territories – are at risk of dengue outbreaks.

Click here to join ISNTD and Break Dengue in support for a Global Dengue Day

There are 390 million cases of dengue in over 100 countries each year. The World Health Organization estimates that 40% of the world’s population is now at risk from the disease. This is why we need to make sure that the control of one of the fastest growing neglected tropical diseases remains a priority for all nations in all regions.

Building on the success of ASEAN Dengue Day, the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) and Break Dengue (BD) have joined forces to call for a Global Dengue Day.

We share the WHO’s goal of reducing dengue morbidity and mortality by 25% and 50% respectively by 2020 but believe we need to significantly step up our efforts to raise awareness of the disease and of all available solutions.

You can add your voice to the chorus of experts, academics, NGOs and citizens urging the UN to act. Sign the open letter and together we can hope to celebrate a Global Dengue Day – and the reduction of the burden of dengue.