“Dengue, just like Covid-19, is not just a public health crisis but a glaring testament to the current lack of, and desperate need for, collective, coordinated, multi-sectoral action to deal with public health emergencies”, says Rubayat Khan, a 2015 New Voices Fellow, along with Rafiqul Islam in their new piece for the Dhaka Tribune.
The ongoing dengue fever outbreak in Bangladesh, as noted by Khan and Islam, has affected over 135,000 people and left about 1,000 people dead. However, this crisis is not new, it is simply the latest in a series of crises testing the boundaries of Bangladesh’s health system and exposing its “glaring gaps”.
While urbanization, inadequate waste management, and lack of public awareness have created an environment where diseases such as dengue can thrive, Khan and Islam highlight that climate change is only making the environment more conducive for bigger and more severe outbreaks.
Emphasizing the need for immediate collective response to this crisis, they call for better coordination between various government sectors, public awareness and active participation noting that “every stakeholder, from the government to the general public, has a role to play”.
This outbreak, as highlighted by Khan and Islam, is only “a symptom of a systemic issue”. Wether it is dengue and COVID-19 today or another health emergency tomorrow, ultimately the need for collective, multi-sectoral coordinated response remains constant.
To read more on Bangladesh’s dengue crisis click below.