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They signed the World Dengue Day petition: find out why

The global petition calling for a World Dengue Day has garnered support from signatories across the globe and across disciplines. In this joint Infectious Thoughts interview, we hear from Sana Saleem, Ministry of Health Maldives, on why it was important for them to rally behind this movement.

What is your professional or personal connection to or interest in dengue fever?

I’m from the Maldives, and dengue is major public health concern here. I work as public health program manager in the Health Protection Agency (public health authority) under the Ministry of Health, Maldives. We collaborate with the WHO Maldives, and I’m one of the focal persons for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Vector Borne Diseases. On a personal level, arboviruses fascinate me, especially Dengue. Zika and Chikungunya are also of interest and they are endemic in the country too.

What are some of the main reasons for which you signed the petition?

Dengue shouldn’t be taken lightly, it’s not only a challenge for a small island nation like the Maldives, but to other large nations too! The aedes/stegomiya vectors are different with peculiar habits. It should be prioritized and we also need more studies on public health intervention measures.

What are some of the ways in which you feel a World Dengue Day petition will benefit those at risk of dengue but also the wider global community?

The priority at global level would encourage regions to prioritize it, hopefully lifting it out of its Neglected Tropical Diseases status, creating more avenues for dengue related research and coming up with internationally accepted public health interventions.

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