- by Aaron Hoyles

Global Dengue VOICE: amplifying the worldwide chorus against dengue

Image representing a Global Dengue VOICE, a boy yells into a megaphone.

Break Dengue is excited to play a central role in bringing together dengue experts from around the world

One in two people lives in areas at risk of dengue fever. Behind this startling statistic are billions of people trying to live their lives in the face of a real and present health threat.

We need to do more to fight back against dengue. At Break Dengue, we are committed to bringing together the expertise and knowledge needed to meet this enormous challenge.

Dengue fever is a complex disease and while there are many experts seeking to reduce the burden of dengue, collaboration is not always easy. This can arise from a geographical distance or because researchers tend to work within their own areas of expertise rather than reaching across disciplines.

This must change. In November 2016, the Global Dengue VOICE committee gathered for the first time to initiate a movement in the fight against dengue and help achieve the objectives set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce dengue-associated mortality by 50% and morbidity by 25%, by 2020.

Global Dengue VOICE is a group of dedicated dengue experts committed to working together to reduce the burden of dengue. It has the potential to bring the best expertise in the world to local communities grappling with the threat of dengue.

Image of a dengue mosquito.

Since that pivotal kick-off event, progress has been seen at national and regional level. In Mexico, a national meeting of committed Global Dengue VOICE members kicked off in April with 54 delegates discussing awareness and prevention.

Earlier this year, 46 delegates from seven countries – the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, India, and Pakistan – came together for a meeting of dengue fever experts in the Asia Pacific region.

Global Dengue VOICE: the next steps

Now this group of senior experts is preparing to meet again in Paris, France, to take this collaboration to the next level. More than 60 of the world’s leading figures will explore how they can build the effective coalitions required to beat dengue. The Global Dengue VOICE has the potential to become the go-to resource for dengue experts.

Break Dengue will be there, with founder Nicholas Brooke addressing delegates and moderating debates. Kamran Rafiq of the International Society of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) – a member of the Break Dengue Editorial Board – will play a central role in proceedings, serving as chair and moderator of several Q&A sessions.

And I will be on hand to facilitate collaborative workshops and host a ‘Dengue Café’ during coffee breaks – conducting video interviews with experts which can be shared with the outside world.

Ongoing conversation

Bringing together experts from across disciplines and around the world is essential. Relationships are made, bonds formed, conversations started. But it cannot end there. that is why we are using the Global Dengue Lab – our online community of experts – as a forum for collaboration and discussion before and after the event.

This will provide opportunities to post materials and toolkits for preventing and treating dengue, as well as serving as a place where resources and experiences can be shared. Crucially, it will ensure that the progress and contacts made when experts meet are not lost: momentum can be maintained.

Learn more about the dengue vaccination toolkit

We look forward to playing our part in the Global Dengue VOICE and to bringing the fruits of this coalition to a wider audience. Together, we can amplify anti-dengue voices from around the world.