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Improving the policy response to infectious disease: The case of dengue in Brazil

Start date

May 2021

End date

February 2024

Overview

More than half of the world population is at risk of dengue fever, an infection transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitos most common in tropical and subtropical countries. Due to climate change, countries previously not affected are more and more subject to local transmission, including the southern US, Spain, Italy and France. Brazil is a major hotspot with the greatest number of dengue cases and running the most expensive vector control programme in the world.
This ESRC IAA funded project led by Dr Martin Koppensteiner, focuses on providing novel estimates of the cost of this neglected tropical disease and making these results available to decision makers in state and federal governments in Brazil to help improve the response to this disease.

Team

Planned Impact

Through this IAA project, Martin and his team have been informing policymakers in Brazil at the local, state, and federal levels on the consequences of dengue infections on costs not previously considered in policymaking through a series of policy workshops and conferences. 
Working closely with public servants in the state of Minas Gerais they are disseminating research findings and advising on the vector control programme in the 853 municipalities of the state. The results from the research are also now informing public and private health institutions about the benefit of individual measures, such as mosquito repellents, for groups most affected by dengue, for example, pregnant mothers.
Also, little was known about the consequences of dengue infections on children and this project is helping to provide for the first time causal evidence on the effect of dengue on school success, showing that infections increase dropout and grade repetition of secondary school students.
The outcomes of this project are already aiding adoption decisions of novel vaccines and cost-benefit analysis for different groups. It is hoped the methodology used by Martin and the team will be expanded to other infectious diseases providing policymakers with tools to aid their decisions around available but scarce vaccines, across the world. Dr Koppensteiner aims to inform health officials in other countries affected by dengue, in the Americas and Asia, to encourage better policy decisions on this neglected tropical disease. 

"We were recently invited by the Brazilian Health Ministry to provide written evidence on our research on the cost of dengue, to the technical consultation of CONITEC, the Brazilian National Committee for Technology Incorporation for their evaluation of new dengue vaccine (TAK-003). In response, CONITEC decided to adopt the new vaccine in Brazil for children aged 6-16. Brazil is the first country to include the vaccine in its public health system, affecting around 200 million people. We are currently extending our impact activities and work with SAGE of the WHO, to incorporate our evidence into the recommendation on the targeting of TAK-003, which could impact more than half of the world’s population in countries where dengue is endemic.” - Dr Martin Koppensteiner