Thursday, June 16, 2011


        Jakarta, June 16, 2011 (ANTARA) - The first ASEAN Dengue Day was observed on June 15 at Jakarta`s National Museum on June 15, where a call was made to intensify regional cooperation to tackle the disease.
       "This is the inaugural launch, and later it will be observed by every ASEAN member country annually," Indonesian Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said after dedicating ASEAN Dengue Day.
       According to the minister, around 50 to 100 million people are estimated to be infected with dengue fever each year, and 20,000 of these cases result in death world-wide. Up to 75 percent of the cases occur in the Asia-Pacific region.
        In 2010, Southeast Asian health officials agreed to designate June 15 as ASEAN Dengue Day in a bid to raise awareness of and eventually curb the potentially fatal mosquito-borne disease.
      The date was chosen because it is the month when the number of dengue cases tends to peak in the 10 ASEAN member states. And Jakarta was chosen to host the inaugural ASEAN Dengue Day because it is the country with the highest incidence of dengue infection.
       According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there may be as many as 50 million dengue infections annually throughout the world, with an estimated 500,000 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever requiring hospitalization. WHO estimated 21,000 die due to dengue a year.
      Of the estimated 2.5 billion people at risk globally - two-fifths of the world`s population - about 1.8 billion people live in the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Indonesia had around 101,000 infections in 2008, more than

700 of which proved fatal, WHO said. The country accounted for 48 percent of all dengue infections in Southeast Asia that year, down from 57 percent in 2006.

In Thailand, about 70,000 people were affected by dengue fever each year, which spends about 250 million baht ($8.2 million) treating the disease and a further 800 million baht on mosquito control each year.

At the launch of Dengue Day, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and WHO called on all sectors of society to unite in the battle against the disease, which has developed into a formidable threat to health in Asia.

Activities are being conducted at regional, national and sub-national levels to raise awareness. These activities such as the ASEAN Dengue Conference, Regional Dengue Logo Competition, and other national initiatives help increase public and government awareness about the disease as well as promote commitment from all health and non-health stakeholders.

To highlight the Dengue Day function, an ASEAN Dengue Conference was held in Jakarta, June 13-14, 2011, and attended by around 150 delegates from ASEAN member countries.

In the conference, the ASEAN health officials issued a Jakarta Call for Action Combating Dengue.

The charter launched on the ASEAN Dengue Day called on all stakeholders in ASEAN to strengthen regional cooperation, improve efficient and sustainable capacity and form an cross sectoral networking.

At the national level, a National Dialog on Dengue was organized by the Indonesian health ministry on Tuesday (June 14) and participated in by representatives of the regional administrations.

During the dialog event, the regional leaders expressed commitment to combating dengue by among other things intensifying the surveillance, promoting the public awareness of dengue threats, and providing adequate funds and logistics to fight the disease.

"The heads of the regional administrations are also committed to producing local regulations on dengue prevention and control," the health minister said.

Indonesia`s hot, humid climate make it an ideal breeding

ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the infection.

Although the number of dengue patients in Indonesia constitutes 10 percent of the world`s dengue patients, namely one million people, the prevalence rate is still quite low among other ASEAN member nations, namely 65.57 per 100,000 populations.

The dengue prevalence in Malaysia is 140 per 100,000 people, and Brunei Darussalam 77.52 per 100,000.

The number of dengue patients in Indonesia is around 150,000, with Bali having the highest prevalence at 337 per 100,000 residents, Jakarta 227/100,000, East Kalimantan 167/100,000 and Yogyakarta 144 per 100,000.

Bali had a population of 3.9 million, 0.28 percent of which is vulnerable to dengue fever attacks. Dengue fever had also killed at least 29 people on the resort island of Bali last year, local health authorities said.

They were among 10,230 residents who suffered from dengue fever between January and October 2010, Head of Bali Province`s Health Office dr. I Nyoman Suteja said.

Last year, of 986 residents who suffered from the dengue fever virus in Southeast Sulawesi Province, 13 died of the disease.

In Palu, Central Sulawesi, dengue fever killed ten residents over the past eight months last year.

Dengue fever outbreaks annually cost Indonesia Rp 3.1 trillion in financial losses that include Rp 343 billion in medical expenses, the health ministry estimated.

The world`s first clinical trials of a dengue fever vaccine being developed by France`s Sanofi Pasteur and due for release in 2014 are being carried out in 15 countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The Thai trial, which began in 2009, involved 4,000 children, while in Indonesia 2,000 children in Jakarta, Bali and Bandung (West Java).

Health Minister Endang has expressed her hope that dengue vaccines will one day be made available free of charge to the public. ***4***


(T.F001/A/F001/A/H-YH) 16-06-2011 23:23:39

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