Asia Dengue Conference 2016

Malaysia was inundated with an unprecedented number of dengue cases in 2015. With cases topping 120,000 and 322 deaths, there was an urgent need to halt the increasing numbers and also to take a step back to realign current approaches and vector management strategies. With this in mind, the inaugural Asia Dengue Conference was designed to bring together respected and knowledgeable experts from the fields of medical and entomology.

Jointly organized by the:
• Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases & Chemotherapy (MSIDC)
• Tropical Infectious Diseases Research & Education Centre (TIDREC)
• Aesculap Academy and
• WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for Arbovirus Reference & Research at the University of Malaya

The conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 23 to 24 April 2016.

With more than 700 multinational participants, it was one of the biggest conferences that focused on dengue in Asia. Experts came with knowledge and strategies from their respective countries, to share their experiences in times of crisis; for other nations to adopt and/or adapt these approaches as a way to manage dengue locally.

Bayer was invited to exhibit our vector control solutions and innovation at the conference; where we demonstrated Bayer Dengue Learning Lab - a free-to-use online platform that shares knowledge on how to manage dengue. It was developed as an important tool to help reinforce the message that fighting dengue is everyone’s responsibility, not just the government’s since public apathy is currently one of the biggest challenges faced by the Ministry of Health in the vector control efforts.

Visitors to the booth were excited about Bayer Dengue Learning Lab and eager to partner with Bayer on future campaigns to raise awareness amongst the public and educate their teams as they found it interactive and easy to use.

Highlights of the conference include a presentation by Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe (WHO Coordinator – Malaria and other Vector-borne and Parasitic Diseases Unit) during his plenary session. “It does not mean vector control activities would become redundant,” he said, reflecting on the recent focus on the availability of dengue vaccinations in the Western Pacific Region. He stressed that it is of utmost importance to understand which strains of the virus are endemic and the demographic that are most affected in the country to implement an integrated vector control management program. “In vector control efforts, nothing is a silver bullet.”

And in his keynote speech, the Minister of Health of Malaysia, Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam, emphasized the need for innovation in vector control solutions as well as an integrated approach in managing the outbreak of the disease. Furthermore, citing outdoor residual spray programs as one of the more recent innovations to have emerged from partnerships with the industry and the ministry’s research arm, Institute for Medical Research (IMR).

The Asia Dengue Conference served not only as a great platform for stakeholder engagement, it also provided visibility to Bayer as a key partner which provides more than chemical solutions in vector control programs. During the 2-day event, although inroads were made among many important stakeholders; more work still needs to be done to further strengthen our partnerships within the region.

Teck Peng Lee, ES Malaysia Country Manager demonstrating Bayer Dengue Learning lab to the Minister of Health of Malaysia,Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam (second from right).

Teck Peng Lee, ES Malaysia Country Manager demonstrating Bayer Dengue Learning lab to Dr. Chong Chee Kheong, Head of Vector-Borne Disease Unit, Ministry of Health Malaysia.

Dr. Clarito U. Cairo, Jr. (Program Manager - Dengue and Emerging/Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases) – Department of Health.