Saturday 20 October, 2018

Regional Network set up to aid in fight against vector borne diseases

A regional network has been launched for Caribbean islands to collaborate to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and other vector-borne diseases.

This comes as mosquito borne diseases continue to impact the Caribbean’s social, economic and health sectors with recent outbreaks of Zika (2016), and Chikungunya (2014) and the continued circulation of Dengue virus.

In light of this, keeping in mind the Caribbean’s dependence on Tourism, 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 on August 8.

CariVecNet includes specialists in VBDs from the Dutch, French, Spanish and English-speaking Caribbean territories. 

It is expected to bridge coordination and knowledge gaps, acting as an exchange centre for surveillance information on the circulation of vector-borne diseases and collaboration on vector control and research topics such as insecticide resistance and community-based interventions. 

Additionally, the network will work on the standardization of operating procedures and training for the diagnosis, surveillance, and better prevention and control of vector-borne diseases in the Caribbean.

The launch was attended by representatives from member states, consortium institutions; St Georges’ University, Grenada; World Health Organization (WHO); Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR/WHO).

As part of the launch, an overview of the network and a review of Zika virus vectors were presented.  Other presentations highlighted emerging vector borne diseases in the Americas and the global vector control response.  

The Working Groups presented their work plans and activities, and later met behind closed doors to discuss the organization, structure, terms of reference, management, operation and sustainability of the Network. Participants were given a tour of the official CariVectNet website which is expected to go live soon.