Integrated Vector Management: a critical strategy for fighting vector-borne diseases in the Region

Dr. James Hospedales

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 5 December, 2017.  “The increased severity of dengue and the occurrence of new viruses that have swept through the Region tell us we have a gap in regional health security where vector borne diseases are concerned.  This year we had storms that were unprecedented.  We are expected to see more monster storms which will cause disruption including making the environment more favorable for vectors.  Hence the need for integrated vector management and looking at some of the new tools that are available.”

These were the words of Dr C James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the Integrated Vector Management (IVM) coordinated by the Agency.

The two-day meeting held from 5-6 December 2017, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, brought together participants from 27 English, French, Dutch and Spanish speaking countries in the Region to review and discuss the adaptation of standardised protocols for improved vector surveillance, including insecticide resistance testing.  The meeting will engage regional vector control managers in discussions related to the adaptation and use of a IVM toolkit in national vector control programmes.

The transmission of vector-borne diseases is strongly influenced by demographic, social and environmental factors, resulting in the emergence and re-emergence of yellow fever, malaria and dengue; and more recently, the emergence of chikungunya and zika in the Region. (more…)

Regional network launched to collaborate on Zika, other vector-borne diseases

CariVecNetMosquito borne diseases continue to impact the Caribbean’s social, economic and health sectors. Recent outbreaks of Zika (2016), and Chikungunya (2014) and the continued circulation of Dengue, highlight the need for an integrated approach to the prevention and control of these vector borne diseases (VBDs), especially since many countries depend on tourism as a major source of revenue.  The need for a Caribbean Vector-Borne Diseases Network, to facilitate information exchange on circulating VBDs, diagnosis and epidemiological trends, collaborate on vector control and research topics was identified as a critical mechanism through which these diseases can be addressed in the Region.

On August 8, 2017, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in collaboration with the Pedro Kouri Institute (IPK), the Institute Pasteur and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, formally launched the Caribbean Vector-Borne Diseases Network (CariVecNet) at IPK, Havana, Cuba.  The launch was attended by representatives from member states, consortium institutions; St Georges’ University, Grenada; World Health Organisation (WHO); Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO); and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR/WHO). (more…)

Regional experts lay groundwork for unified response to vector-borne diseases

Regional experts meet to discuss strategies to create a Vector-Borne Disease Network
Regional experts meet to discuss strategies to create a Vector-Borne Disease Network

“Although Dengue has been in the Region for years, with the introduction of Chikungunya in 2013, and now Zika, vector-borne diseases (VBDs) have become very prominent, taking centre stage,” stated Dr Karen Polson-Edwards, Acting Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Dr Polson-Edwards was speaking at the opening of the first meeting of the Surveillance and Vector Control Working Groups of the Caribbean Vector-Borne Diseases Network (CariVecNet). The Agency, as coordinator of the Network, hosted 20 experts in vector control and vector-borne disease surveillance from ten CARPHA Member States.  Personnel from Institut Pasteur, Guadeloupe; Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Kitts and Nevis and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) were also in attendance.  From 13 – 14 March, delegates discussed the formation and operations of the Network and drafted two-year work plans for both working groups.

The Network will act as an avenue for exchange of surveillance information on the circulating vector borne diseases, and collaboration on vector control and research topics such as insecticide resistance and community-based intervention.  Additionally, the Network will work on the standardisation of operating procedures and training for the diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and control of vector-borne diseases in the Caribbean, with the expected long-term outcome being better prevention and control of VBDs. (more…)