Updated on 18 January 2013
WHO: Dengue registered a 30-fold increase in its incidence over the past 50 years
Singapore: A WHO report on neglected tropical diseases revealed that in 2012, dengue was the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, with an epidemic potential in the world. It registered a 30-fold increase in its incidence over the past 50 years. The report also pointed out that the world needs to change its reactive approach and implement sustainable preventive measures.
The report said that the renewed momentum has shifted the world closer to eliminating many of the conditions that take their greatest toll among the poor. Thanks to the new global strategy, a regular supply of quality-assured, cost-effective medicines and support from global partners.
Support from those countries, which are endemic for these diseases, and their partners have helped fast-track actions and initiatives that are now having a measurable impact in affected countries and considerable scaling up of preventive chemotherapy. In 2010 alone, 711 million people received treatment for at least one of the four diseases targeted for preventive chemotherapy which include lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases.
Dr Margaret Chan, director-general, WHO, said that, "The challenge now is to strengthen capacity of national disease programs in endemic countries and streamline supply chains to get the drugs to the people who need them, when they need them."
Over the next five years, WHO projects that the treatment for schistocomiasis (bilharzia) will reach 235 million people. This will be achieved by increasing availability of medicines (praziquantel) using gifts of medicines and improved distribution at country level.