§ Clare Short
We recognise that dengue is a major public health concern in many developing countries. Global prevalence has grown dramatically in recent decades, with the disease now endemic in more than 100 countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 500,000 people are hospitalised with dengue haemorrhagic fever and shock every year.
In response, vector control and clinical management strategies for dengue require further strengthening. New vaccines would also be of considerable benefit, if used appropriately. Vaccine development for dengue is difficult because any of four different virus strains may cause disease. However, progress is being made in developing vaccines which may protect against all four strains. WHO estimate it may be at least 7–10 years before vaccines are available for public health use.
The WHO Tropical Disease Research programme and Health Technology and Pharmaceutical Cluster are leading international efforts to develop an effective and safe dengue vaccine. DFID support to these efforts is through our partnership with WHO, assisting them to develop a collective, coherent organisational response and to work closely with other agencies. DFID has also prioritised the strengthening of health systems to effectively deliver vaccines and other interventions.
§ Clare Short
I refer the hon. Member to my previous answer on dengue (67034).
My Department's support to dengue control is principally through our partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO). In addition to their priority work on dengue vaccine development and other research, WHO are engaged in disease surveillance, prevention and control. DFID's contribution to WHO in 2001–02 was £10.4 million. We are also providing support to tackling dengue in Central America through a Communicable Disease Control Project with the Pan American Health Organisation, for which £500,000 was disbursed in 2001–02.
We have also prioritised efforts to strengthen developing country health systems and improve environmental health, both essential in tackling dengue and other communicable diseases of poverty.