Enhancing Entomological Capacity for Combating Vector-Borne Diseases in Nepal
Ruth Müller of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium and Meghnath Dhimal of the Nepal Health Research Council will provide entomological training for health science students and medical professionals and increase community awareness of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) in Nepal to better equip the population to deal with disease outbreaks. VBDs like those caused by the dengue, zika, or chikungunya viruses cause more than 700,000 deaths annually, mostly in poor countries with limited public health resources and tropical climates. Climate change has expanded the affected areas as warmer temperatures facilitate survival of the insect vectors. They will establish the EntoCAP team to enhance entomological capacity to fight these diseases. The team will hold five-day workshops for 300 health science students and health care professionals on surveillance and control of vector populations, and monitoring of disease outbreaks. They will also increase community interest in VBDs by hosting science labs for children to teach them how to recognize mosquitoes at various developmental stages and understand the dangers of VBDs. In addition, they will begin building a reference collection using DNA barcoding technology to catalog insect vectors by species for studying biodiversity and microevolution of disease vectors.