Integrated Strategies For Dengue Prevention & Control

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Minister of Health, Donville Inniss examines the "Integrated Vector Control Manual"??along with Sustainable Development??and Environment Adviser PAHO/ECC, Winston Thomas, Caribbean Program Coordinator (PAHO/WHO), Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi and Public Health Specialist (PAHO/ECC), Colin Browne.??

National integrated management strategies for dengue prevention and control are currently being developed by the region’s environmental health specialists, entomologists and other experts. ??

Chief Medical Officer (Ag) Dr. Karen Springer, in explaining the rationale of a three-day PAHO-sponsored workshop at Grand Barbados Beach Resort, said: "In August 2010, the Caribbean Epidemiological Centre recommended that member countries take steps towards the implementation of National Integrated Management Strategies for dengue prevention and control." ??She added: "This was initiated in Martinique during June 2009."

Dr. Springer revealed that this integrated approach included strengthening areas of surveillance, clinical management, laboratory diagnosis and vector control, using environmental modification and social communication. And, the senior health official pointed out that since then, PAHO consultant, Dr. Samuel Rawlins completed the development of a generic integrated vector control manual, that is now being validated in three countries.

The first exercise, she noted, was started in Barbados last week and continued this week in Grenada. Another is expected to be conducted in St. Lucia, later this month.

Explaining the importance and timeliness of the workshop, Dr. Springer stressed that "in the absence of an available vaccine, existing vector control strategies remain the most reliable instrument for dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever prevention and control." ??

Meanwhile, Caribbean Program Coordinator (PAHO/WHO), Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, in addressing participants at the workshop said: "We all recognise that the management of dengue demands involvement of all sectors of the population, health professionals, and a significant community involvement, to control the environmental factors leading to the breeding of the mosquitoes.

"With no new mosquito control technology available, the effects of climate change, increasing insecticide resistance and a vaccine still in development, public health authorities have emphasised disease prevention and mosquito control, through community efforts to reduce larval breeding sources."

Dr. Theodore-Gandi, however, maintained that although this approach might be effective in the longer term, it was important to develop "a coordinated response to include early detection, laboratory diagnosis, clinical, vector control and community mobilisation efforts."?? jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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