It’s one year since we unveiled the winners of our first Break Dengue Community Action Prize. The initiative sought to reward promising research with the potential to reduce the burden of dengue. In particular, the prize recognized academic projects that engaged communities in rising to the shared challenge of dengue fever.
We were pleased to present prizes to two winners and both have made important progress in the 12 months that followed. Dr. Aileen Chang, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Medical School in Washington DC, was one of the recipients. She has been working with NGOs and government officials on fighting dengue in Colombia to assess feasibility and acceptability of introducing dengue vaccines to Colombia.
Dr. Chang’s team has developed a robust survey which has been deployed in three areas of Colombia where dengue is endemic. The researchers are now analyzing the data and look forward to sharing their findings with the academic community. They are also conducting surveys in Venezuela using a similar survey tool.
The other winner, Dr. John Hustedt, an epidemiologist at the Malaria Consortium in Cambodia, has also completed work supported by the Break Dengue Prize. Their vector control initiative focused on the role of community health workers and the use of guppy fish to tackle mosquitoes in villages. It also presented opportunities to engage with healthcare workers and villagers on other dengue prevention tools, including vaccination.
The project raised awareness of dengue in Cambodia, vector control and identified some of the benefits and challenges of integrating guppy fish into dengue prevention strategies. Results of the project are being published in peer-reviewed journalist and will be presented at scientific conferences.
We are delighted to see the Break Dengue Prize translating into real results for dengue researchers in Asia and Latin America.
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