Monday, April 7, 2014

World Heath Day: UN urges countries to prioritize combat against vector-borne diseases

UN News Centre: Warning that a “small bite can carry a big threat,” the United Nations family is marking World Health Day by urging the international community to back a global health agenda that gives higher priority to controlling the spread of vector-borne diseases, a step towards ensuring that no one in the 21st century would die from the bite of a mosquito or a tick.

“Every year, more than 1 million people die from diseases carried by mosquitoes, flies and other insects, such as triatomine bugs. These vector-borne diseases – which include malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis – cause chronic illness and immense suffering for hundreds of millions more,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the Day, which is observed every year on 7 April to mark the founding in 1948 of the UN World Health Organization (WHO).

Mr. Ban says that climate change, altered habitats and increased international trade and travel are exposing more people to the vectors that transmit these diseases. They present a risk in all regions, including countries where the threat had formerly been eradicated, but the most affected are the world’s poorest people,
especially those who live in remote rural communities far from health services or in urban shanty towns.

“By profoundly affecting people’s health, vector-borne diseases are a serious impediment to poverty reduction and sustainable development,” he said, stressing that work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and define a post-2015 development agenda must recognize that investing in vector control and disease prevention is both wise and necessary....

Skeeter shot by Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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