Phnom Penh, Cambodia (22 November 2010)
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending US$ 49 million to expand surveillance response system to help control dengue outbreaks, and prevent the spread of communication and tropical diseases in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. The dengue improvement was made in a statement on November 22nd obtained by the Southeast Asia Weekly.
The Second Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project, which is an offshoot of the first GMS Regional Communicable Diseases Control Project, will also target improvements in the capacity of health services and communities involved in disease control in border districts of the three countries.
Infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), avian influenza, and swine flu, have had major economic impacts on productivity, trade, and tourism in Asia and will continue to pose a public health threat. In addition, dengue continues to spread and communicable diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and HIV/AIDS, as well as tropical illnesses such as Japanese encephalitis and schistosomiasis, pose a major disease burden.
“Preventing these diseases requires better local participation and much more intensive regional cooperation,” Vincent de Wit, lead health professional in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in the statement. He emphasized the necessity of a quick response system and that bringing communicable diseases under control requires cross-border cooperation.
The community-based communicable disease control systems funded by the preject are aimed at around 1.7 million people living in 116 border districts in the three countries. About one-third of the population in the target areas belong to ethnic minority groups.
The earlier GMS Regional Communicable Disease Control Project, initiated in 2005 in partnership with the World Health Organization, came at timely moment, coinciding with the outbreak of avian influenza, an escalation of dengue, and an emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Lao PDR. It helped strengthen provincial surveillance in the three Mekong countries and gave province greater capacity and emergency funding to respond swiftly to disease outbreaks resulting in reduced deaths, medical costs and economic losses.
The new project will build on earlier successes to strengthen surveillance and response mechanisms. Financing will come from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund with a loan of US$ 27 million for Vietnam and grants of US$ 10 million for Cambodia and US$ 12 million for Lao PDR. The three countries will provide counterpart support totaling US$5 million quivalent.
The Ministry of Health in each country will be the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in June 2016. The regional coordination unit will be based in Vientiane.
By S.L (Vol.4, Issue 48, SEAW)