Ha Noi, 18 November 2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health in Vietnam, in partnership with a consortium led by HR Wallingford, organized a regional-level workshop to share information on a project to develop a dengue fever forecasting system. The Dengue Model forecasting Satellite-based System, known as D-MOSS, is being developed as part of an innovative inter-agency project funded by the UK Space Agency. D-MOSS is the first fully integrated dengue fever forecasting system, incorporating Earth Observation (EO) data and seasonal weather forecasts, to issue warnings on a routine basis. D-MOSS is a web-based system that can forecast dengue outbreaks up to six months in advance.

Dengue fever is the fastest growing mosquito borne viral infection in the world. It is present in over 150 countries, meaning that around 40% of the world's population now lives in countries where dengue is a daily risk. It has been estimated that dengue has a global cost of almost US$9 billion per year. South-East Asia and the Western Pacific regions are the most seriously affected and although recently the epidemiological situation has worsened, there is currently no system for forecasting dengue outbreaks six months in advance.  In Viet Nam, dengue poses a significant public health burden in terms of morbidity and mortality of patients.  In addition, it has a detrimental effect on Viet Nam’s economy. Since 2000, cases of dengue fever in Viet Nam have increased by more than 100%. In 2017, Viet Nam suffered a major outbreak of dengue that resulted in 170,000 people being infected and 38 deaths.

Dang Quang Tan, the Deputy Director of Viet Nam General Department of Preventive Medicine from the Vietnamese Government said “The Ministry of Health highly appreciates this initiative and the technical support that the project is expected to bring. This is the first initiative to be developed and tested in the world combining scientific intelligence from many international and national organizations. The information shared by these countries plays an important role in the region's overall efforts to respond to dengue fever when the disease has no geographical borders”.

Speaking at the workshop, Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam remarked that “Fighting dengue fever requires common efforts across countries and regional cooperation to ensure that the best information, experiences and innovative tools are shared in a timely manner. Dengue fever is becoming more prevalent as the result of climate change. In any given country, existing tools need to be complemented by innovative forecasting systems to help control and minimize further expansion of this disease”.

D-MOSS was presented to stakeholders from seven countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand). The possibility of replicating D-MOSS in these countries was explored. During the workshop, representatives from the seven countries gave presentations on the methods they currently employ to monitor and control dengue. The workshop also included representatives from UNDP, WHO, British Embassy, Viet Nam Ministry of Health, the Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change (IMHEN), hospitals, provincial health authorities from Ha Noi, Dak Lak, Dong Nai and Khanh Hoa, as well as the D-MOSS project team.

D-MOSS is led by HR Wallingford, working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Met Office and Oxford Policy Management in the UK, together with the following international partners: UNDP, WHO, IMHEN, the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Viet Nam.

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:

Dr Gina Tsarouchi
D-MOSS Project Manager
E: g.tsarouchi@hrwallingford.com
T: +44 (0)1491 822412

Ms. Phan Huong Giang
Climate Change & Environment Media and Communications Analyst
United Nations Development Programme
Email: phan.huong.giang@undp.org;
Mob: 0948466688

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