New innovative tools to advance the dengue early warning system in Viet Nam

March 20, 2019

Ha Noi, 19 March 2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), in partnership with a consortium led by HR Wallingford announce a joint project tilted “Dengue Model forecasting Satellite-based System” (D-MOSS), funded the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme.

The project aims to develop tools which allows the Government and public health authorities to: issue alerts for dengue, so that relevant agencies and communities can take appropriate actions to mitigate the impacts and damages caused by dengue outbreaks; and provide assessment of vector-borne disease risks under future climate and land-use chage scenarios.

The consortium comprises HR Wallingford, UNDP, WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Met Office and Oxford Policy Management in the UK, Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change of the Viet Nam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health.

In Viet Nam, dengue is an endemic disease with epidemic cycles that are associated with social determinants such as rapid urbanization, environment pollution, limited access to basic services and climate variability and change. The country witnessed a surge in dengue in 2017 which experienced over 170,000 cases of infection in almost all provinces and cities. It poses an enormous public health problem in terms of morbidity and mortality for patients, but also in terms of the economic and social costs to individuals and society.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator said “Given the significant correlation between weather factors and dengue incidence, a combination of water availability forecasting and dengue outbreak prediction enabled by satellite technology is a great innovation. The project we are launching today is exciting in that it leverages global and local expertise from across disciplines and continents to harness data and experience to create early-warning systems and analytic tools that can help Viet Nam’s health systems roll-back dengue’s impacts both today and in the future.

The UK is an innovation powerhouse. Space technology is one of our strongest sectors and I am very pleased to see the UK Space Agency and partners introduce a novel and innovative tool to help Viet Nam to predict and respond to dengue outbreaks more confidently and efficiently. This project is evidence of the strong and continued commitment of the UK to support Viet Nam to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, highlighted by Mr Gareth Ward, Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

Darren Lumbroso, D-MOSS Project Director from HR Wallingford, said: “We are delighted to be leading this ground-breaking project where, for the first time, an Earth Observation-based forecasting system will allow decision makers to identify areas of high risk for disease epidemics before an outbreak occurs, in order to target resources so as to reduce an epidemic spreading and to increase disease control“.

Attending the launching workshop, Ms H 'Yim Kdoh, Vice Chairman of Dak Lak Provincial People's Committee said, “The development of an early warning system for dengue will help the province to plan and prepare resources to be ready for better respond to the disease. This is also the expectation of the health sector, the Steering Committee for Disease Prevention and the Provincial People's Committee".

Dong Nai has 35 industrial parks with nearly 1 million workers from all regions of the country and thousands of experts from many countries and territories around the world. On average, there are 4000 to 6000 cases of dengue in the province. The number of dengue cases continues to increase and there is no sign of stopping. This is a major health concern of the provincial leaders, health authorities and communities. We commit to coordinate with the UN organizations and partners in implementing projects in the province within the framework of Viet Nam and International laws”, said by Ms Nguyen Hoa Hiep, Vice Chairman of Dong Nai Provincial People's Committee.

The “Dengue Model forecasting Satellite-based System” (D-MOSS) project will end in 2021.

Note for editor:

The International Partnership Programme is a five-year, £152 million programme designed to partner UK space expertise with overseas governments and organizations to deliver sustainable, economic or societal benefits. It is funded from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund which forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.

More information, please kindly contact:

Ms Phan Huong Giang
Climate Change & Environment Media and Communications Analyst
United Nations Development Programme
Mob: 0948466688

Dr Gina Tsarouchi
D-MOSS Project Manager
T: +44 (0)1491 822412