‘Climate change behind dengue’s re-emergence in Southeast Asia’

September 11th, 2008 - 10:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) Health ministers from Southeast Asian countries Thursday pledged to combat tobacco use and to curb the spread of the mosquito-borne dengue disease, which they claimed was re-emerging due to climate change in the region.Health ministers and health experts from 11 countries, including India, adopted six resolutions - with a special focus on tobacco and dengue - at the conclusion of a World Health Organisation regional committee meeting here.

The committee expressed concern over the re-emergence of dengue as a serious public health threat in countries of the region.

Understanding that global climate change has resulted in the re-emergence of dengue in the region with an increase in outbreaks, the committee recognised that the disease has far-reaching cross-border and international implications.

Every year, hundreds of people are dying due to this mosquito-borne disease and thousands others are getting affected in the region.

The member states agreed to strengthen dengue surveillance, prevention and control systems. WHO and the committee also decided to strengthen surveillance to assess the burden of dengue.

In a resolution on tobacco, the committee reaffirmed its concerns on the increasing trend of tobacco consumption across the region, especially among the youth, women and the poor.

They also focused on its negative impact on the health, social and economic development of countries in the region.

Khalil Rahman, WHO coordinator of Tobacco Control said: “Effective enforcement of tobacco legislation and increasing tax on them would curb (the) consumption.”

The committee emphasised on surveillance of tobacco use, prevention policies, protecting people from tobacco smoke. The administration while curbing tobacco consumption must offer help to quit tobacco use, warn about the dangers and enforce bans on its advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

The committee expressed concerns over the lack of effective law enforcement, policy decisions, programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

In another resolution, the regional committee reaffirmed the commitment made by member nations in the Almaty Declaration to implement primary health care by upholding the values of equity and social justice.

They also emphasised on universal coverage, multisectoral collaboration, community participation and use of appropriate technology in health development.

The 11 countries also re-nominated Samlee Plianbangchang as regional director for the Southeast Asia region.

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