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J Trop Med. 2013;2013:158462. doi: 10.1155/2013/158462. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Public health responses to a dengue outbreak in a fragile state: a case study of Nepal.

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Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK.


Objectives. The number of countries reporting dengue cases is increasing worldwide. Nepal saw its first dengue outbreak in 2010, with 96% of cases reported in three districts. There are numerous policy challenges to providing an effective public health response system in a fragile state. This paper evaluates the dengue case notification, surveillance, laboratory facilities, intersectoral collaboration, and how government and community services responded to the outbreak. Methods. Qualitative data were collected through 20 in-depth interviews, with key stakeholders, and two focus-group discussions, with seven participants. Results. Limitations of case recognition included weak diagnostic facilities and private hospitals not incorporated into the case reporting system. Research on vectors was weak, with no virological surveillance. Limitations of outbreak response included poor coordination and an inadequate budget. There was good community mobilization and emergency response but no routine vector control. Conclusions. A weak state has limited response capabilities. Disease surveillance and response plans need to be country-specific and consider state response capacity and the level of endemicity. Two feasible solutions for Nepal are (1) go upwards to regional collaboration for disease and vector surveillance, laboratory assistance, and staff training; (2) go downwards to expand upon community mobilisation, ensuring that vector control is anticipatory to outbreaks.

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