April 7, 2014, marks the UN Observance of World Health Day. This year’s topic is focused on vector-borne diseases, or diseases that are spread by insects bites or stings.
The World Health Organization and IVM (Integrated Vector Management)
The World Health Organization (WHO), has created a management system called the Integrated Vector Management (IVM) in which the new strategies for controlling and preventing vector-borne disease are linked, to promote benefits for both health and environmental issues.
The IVM strategies have been established to be cost-effective and have the least negative effect on ecosystems and the public’s health.
Some examples of these strategies include: the introduction of bacteria and fish into vulnerable ecosystems that kill vector larvae before they can become disease carrying vectors, insecticide-nets, and the elimination of vector breeding grounds through better design and use of water resources.
World Health Success Stories
According to the WHO, the devastating disease known as ‘guinea-worm’ has been virtually eliminated in Nigeria. Whereas in 1988, there were more than 650,000 cases of the disease, today there are none.
Also according to the WHO, South-East Asia is now Polio-free! For more information on how Nepal is making sure Polio does not return, please click here.
Did you Know?
- The most deadly vector-borne disease is Malaria, which kills over 1.2 million people every year!
- 40% of the world’s population is at threat for Dengue Fever, which is the fastest growing vector-borne disease in the world!
How to protect yourself and your family
- Make sure not to leave puddles of water in or around your home, these can easily become nesting grounds for vectors and the transmission of vector-borne diseases.
- If you are able to, use an insect net around your beds, and use screen doors and windows wherever possible.
- Have your home sprayed often. If you cannot afford it, contact your local government, many countries have programs for spraying your home.
- If you are travelling to a malaria-prone region for a short period of time, take into consideration the use of certain drugs that can prevent the onset of malaria.
- If you live in a wooded area or go into a wooded area, check yourself for tick bites frequently as these pesky insects can carry a disease known as Lyme’s Disease.
- Always see a doctor as soon as possible if a rash occurs following an insect bite