Amid Covid battle, Pacific islands are still fighting mosquito-borne outbreaks
Suva, Fiji – The Pacific Community (SPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a manual for surveillance and control of Aedes mosquitoes’ vectors in the Pacific during a virtual meeting May 19. Mosquitoes of the Aedes genus can transmit viruses that cause dengue, Zika and chikungunya disease. Three diseases have taken their toll in the Pacific region in recent years, with 95 outbreaks (68 dengue outbreaks, 12 Zika virus and 15 Chikungunya) reported between January 2012 and May 13, 2021.
This manual is designed for program managers, operational staff and collaborating partners responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating national vector control programs.
Lenkon Tagavi in Vanuatu said this manual is important for Vanuatu and the Pacific region as there has not been any specific guidance on how to address Aedes-borne diseases. “We are glad to have this guidance from SPC and WHO to help us adapt the strategies for Aedes control,” she added.
Dr. Salanieta Saketa, SPC’s senior epidemiologist, said there are currently no entomological surveillance systems targeting Aedes vectors in many Pacific island countries and territories except for New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Fiji. This manual will guide the island nations and territories to prevent and control Aedes-borne diseases."
Dr. Tessa Knox, WHO’s Pacific Focal Point on Vector Surveillance and Control based in Vanuatu, said, “We hope this manual provides practical guidance for countries and territories of the Pacific region to develop actionable strategies in line with the Global Vector Control Response 2017-2030 and ensuring World Health Assembly resolutions, to prevent and contain Aedes-borne disease outbreaks - now and in the future.”
The manual was developed by SPC and WHO, in consultation with several countries and partners of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN), with the goal of strengthening vector surveillance and control capacities and capabilities across the Pacific region.
The development and production of this manual were supported by funding from the Agence française de développement (AFD) to SPC on “Strengthening the capacities of the PPHSN” and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The English version of the manual can be accessed online and a French version will be available soon. (SPC)