Zero Dengue Deaths Is Everyone’s Duty — DPAM

Ahead of World Dengue Day and ASEAN Dengue Day tomorrow, Dengue Prevention Advocacy Malaysia (DPAM) highlights the need for a mindset shift, urging everyone to take charge of dengue prevention within their community.

World Dengue Day and ASEAN Dengue Day, which falls on June 15, 2024, serves as a reminder that dengue is a scourge that is ever present globally, as well as in Malaysia.

Dengue causes a heavy burden on the health systems of all countries where it is prevalent. In Malaysia, though we have a low mortality rate due to dengue, we are still seeing a high rate of morbidities, causing admissions to hospitals.  

The productivity of affected individuals is reduced by the need to take leave from work on account of being ill from the dreaded disease, or from the need to take care of other infected individuals in the family.

The after effects from severe dengue also exacts a toll on the individual, both physically and mentally. 

Years of public health education along with other programmes initiated by the government and the private sector have resulted in a low case fatality rate of 0.2 per cent, though we still see spikes of dengue cases happening.  

Globally, there is a goal to achieve zero dengue deaths and a reduction of dengue cases by 25 per cent by 2030, and in Malaysia, from 2022 to 2026, we are aiming to reduce national dengue cases by 5 per cent annually and to maintain dengue deaths to below 0.2 per cent each year. 

All these can only be achieved by a whole-of-government and society approach. Everyone needs to take charge of dengue prevention in the community. There is a need to change the mindset that there will be others who will shoulder the responsibility of dengue prevention management. 

The public is reminded that one should see a doctor upon having symptoms of suspected dengue. Gone is the fallacy that one can only get a diagnosis of dengue after a few days of symptoms.

Dengue can largely be diagnosed even on the first day of falling ill. Government and private general practitioner clinics are able to do tests to diagnose dengue at an early stage. Proper early management will lead to a reduction of the mortality rate. 

Everyone is aware of the steps for the prevention of dengue, which includes measures to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes, to avoid getting bitten, and now, with the availability of a vaccine, to get vaccinated if possible.  

Dr Koh Kar Chai is the Public Education Lead for Dengue Prevention Advocacy Malaysia (DPAM).

  • This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.

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