Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has warned people in Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries of the occurrence and spread of dengue in the region and the world.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of a regional-level meeting to mark the third ASEAN Dengue Day in Hanoi on June 15.

He noted that dengue fever has been reported in over 100 countries and territories, with about 2.5 billion people living in dengue-endemic areas. Of the number, about 1.8 billion are living in Asia-Pacific.

In Vietnam, between 50,000 and 100,000 dengue cases are reported each year, with nearly 100 deaths, he said.

Dengue is no longer a problem of one country only but an urgent matter requiring regional and global cooperation to find out a solution, he emphasised.

Therefore, he added, ASEAN and its 10 member countries, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) named June 15 as the ASEAN Dengue Day, with the aim of raising public awareness and strengthening coordination among countries in the prevention and fight against the disease.

Deputy Minister Long said Vietnam is proud to be the host of the event this year, which he described it as the Vietnamese Government and people’s commitment to join hands with other regional countries as well as the international community to share experience and boost effective cooperation in combating dengue.

Addressing the event, a WHO representative praised Vietnam’s determination in the work.

The representative raised concern over the rapid spread of the disease in the context that no vaccine against it has been produced.

Despite Vietnam’s significant achievements in fighting dengue as well as other emerging diseases, the country still records a high ratio of population suffered from dengue fever in ASEAN, the WHO official noted.

During the meeting, Vietnam’s healthcare sector launched a campaign across the nation to enhance environmental sanitation, eliminate mosquito larva and raise public awareness as an effort to prevent the fever.

The sector will also work closely with other relevant sectors in the field, while exerting more effort to make sure the disease is not widely spread to the community. The efforts are also specific actions to realise the Hanoi Statement that was approved in a regional seminar in the field held in Hanoi on June 14.-VNA