Industry leaders join the fight against dengue, Malaysia’s number one health concern

  • A new study has revealed dengue to be the number one health concern amongst Malaysians, but only a quarter of us feel prepared or in control1
  • Allied Against Dengue (AAD), announces their partnership with multiple leading industry partners and their future initiatives to help empower Malaysians in dengue prevention and management

Dengue is a serious viral infection transmitted from one person to another by the Aedes mosquito1. As the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease in the world, the threat of dengue is ubiquitous and immense, with almost 40% of the world’s population estimated to be at risk2. South East Asia alone carries the highest prevalence of dengue, affecting 2.9 million people annually and representing the biggest regional burden in the world3.

Whilst recent national statistics suggest that overall dengue cases have fallen in comparison to last year4, the impact of dengue and its potentially devastating consequences remain a persistent threat across Malaysia. Latest research has shed new light on the nation’s perception of dengue, revealing it to be the number one concern amongst common infectious diseases, with 80% of Malaysians feeling worried about the disease5.

The South East Asia (SEA) Dengue Survey, a first-of-its-kind survey commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare, also revealed that despite widespread concern, understanding of the risks, symptoms and management of dengue is severely lacking – just over half of individuals surveyed described themselves as knowledgeable in recognising the symptoms6, and only 33% are aware that there is no cure7.

Alarmingly, when asked about appropriate medication, almost 70% of Malaysians were unaware that paracetamol is the only recommended medication for the management of dengue fever8, as stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO)9. The results of the survey highlight an additional dimension to the risk of dengue in Malaysia; increased potential to misdiagnose or incorrectly manage the disease may enhance the likelihood of life-threatening complications, putting the patient in jeopardy10.

Given the distinct awareness around the impact of dengue and its severity, unsurprisingly, almost 90% of individuals who participated in the survey were keen to learn more about the disease11, particularly if they have been personally affected or if the topic of dengue is highly visible in the media12, but around half believed that sufficient levels of information are not available to them13.

“The majority of Malaysians surveyed report taking proactive measures to help prevent dengue, but when the fever strikes, we feel uncertain about how to recognise the symptoms, the steps to take to manage the disease, and most importantly, how to find out this crucial information,” stated Heather Pelier, Southeast Asia Area Marketing Director for Pain Relief and Respiratory, GSK Consumer Healthcare. “This uncertainty illustrates that the need for education has become greater than ever, to ensure that Malaysians are equipped with both the confidence and knowledge to tackle dengue.”

United in their efforts to address the educational needs across South East Asia, Allied Against Dengue (AAD) is delighted to announce the joining of four new partners, UCSI University Malaysia, Caring Pharmacy Group Berhad,Apex Pharmacy Marketing,and MIMS Health Today who join existing members such as Malaysian Medical Association, Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, Guardian Health & Beauty Sdn Bhd, and GSK Consumer Healthcare in their mission of increasing advocacy on dengue prevention and management through engagement, empowerment and education.

Founded in 2015 by GSK Consumer Healthcare, AAD began as a coalition of 12 organisations, launching its pilot educational campaign in Indonesia, followed by Malaysia and the Philippines. More than 11,500 healthcare professionals and pharmacists have since joined the mission to empower and educate more than seven million patients on disease prevention and management across digital and media channels, and on-ground activations.

By leveraging its partners’ unique competencies and functions, AAD aims to actively reduce the incidence rates of dengue through its efforts. Dr Ravindran Naidu, President of the Malaysian Medical Association, stated, “As an original partner of the alliance since its inauguration, the Malaysia Medical Association is continually seeking ways in which patients and healthcare professionals can be empowered with knowledge on the disease itself. For example, it is of great importance to be aware that a diagnosis of dengue fever can be made on the first day of infection with a simple needle prick.” He added, “AAD serves as a unified vehicle whereby this knowledge can be proactively shared to enhance disease prevention.”

“When considering the significance of disease understanding and perceptions, empowerment is the best tool to combat dengue,” said Bharati Suresh Chand, Vice President of theMalaysian Pharmaceutical Society. “Through successful collaboration with our new partners, and the ever-growing support from healthcare providers, industry leaders, NGOs and members of the public, AAD will continue to intensify our public advocacy programme to help mitigate the impact of dengue on our communities.”

The partnership launch precedes the latest venture of AAD to garner social empowerment against dengue, the AAD Run 2017. Taking place on Sunday 17 September 2017 at Bandar Rimbayu Show Gallery, Selangor, the run invites individuals across Malaysia to become ‘dengue warriors’ by signing up for either the 5km fun-run (for ages 8 years and older) or 10km (for ages 16 years and older) race. Prizes of up to RM4000 will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, whilst all participants will receive AAD t-shirts, goodie bags and medals.

Ms Pelier concluded, “The AAD Run will bring together AAD partners, government officials and members of the public to demonstrate the strength our collaboration, with proceeds of the race contributing to future initiatives to drive dengue education and awareness across Malaysia. By joining forces to leverage our capabilities and taking action, we come ever-closer to defeating dengue.”

For more information regarding the AAD Run and to register, please visit: Closing date for race registration is Sunday 10 September 2017.

1 Achee, N.L. et al. (2015). PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 1–19.

2 Brady, O.J. et al. (2012). PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 6:1760.

3 Shepard, D. S. (2013). PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 7(2):e2055.

4 Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2017). Dengue Statistics.

5 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). C5.

6 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). C8.

7 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). C4.

8 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). D4.

9 WHO. (2009). Dengue. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment prevention and control. Geneva.

10 WHO. (2009). Dengue. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment prevention and control. Geneva.

11 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). F1.

12 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). F3.

13 GSK Dengue Study (South East Asia). (2017). F2.