From strategy to impact: a holistic approach to dengue prevention in Thailand

February 19, 2024


From strategy to impact: a holistic approach to dengue prevention in Thailand

February 19, 2024

Neeladri Verma

Manager, Health Practice

Neeladri Verma is a manager with Economist Impact's Health team. She leads customised research projects for international healthcare clients, from ideation to execution. She works with multiple stakeholders and manages multidisciplinary teams, conducting quantitative and qualitative analyses across health priority themes.

Dr Verma has a rich and diverse background in health and research, focusing primarily on the Asian markets. A dental doctor by trade, she also holds an MBA from the University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining Economist Impact, she worked as a consultant at a boutique healthcare management consulting firm in Hong Kong, conducting research and strategic analyses on topics such as vaccine procurement, the role of the private sector in health reforms, health system appraisals, and multisectoral approaches to health policy.

From strategy to impact: a holistic approach to dengue prevention in Thailand

Dengue, a disease affecting millions globally, is witnessing an escalating burden. This surge is partly attributed to climate change, which not only broadens the habitats of the mosquitoes carrying the disease but also propels people into dengue-affected areas. Dengue poses a public health issue, with 80% of cases being asymptomatic, yet potentially contributing to disease spread.1 The remaining 20% exhibit symptoms ranging from fever to severe conditions like dengue shock syndrome, marked by septic shock and organ failure.2

In Thailand, dengue fever has become the leading vector-borne disease. Dengue outbreaks occur every two to three years, with the most recent being in January 2023, infecting tens of thousands and escalating the infection rate to 4.2 times that of 2022.3 The fight against it is impeded by the lack of specific anti-viral treatment and limited preventive and vector control measures.

The Economist Impact report, "From Strategy to Impact: A Holistic Approach to Dengue Prevention in Thailand," sponsored by Takeda, evaluates the state of dengue in Thailand. The report uncovers strategies to enhance and broaden dengue prevention and methods to mitigate the disease's impact on the health, lives, and livelihoods of the Thai population. It identifies opportunities to develop a comprehensive and integrated dengue prevention strategy in Thailand and highlights the following calls to action:

  1. Implement a national strategy to increase awareness of dengue risks, transmission and prevention measures.
  2. Empower local governments, foster community engagement, and promote inter-sectoral collaboration.
  3. Leverage technology and data to improve surveillance and planning.
  4. Learn from best practices and scale-up initiatives to improve vector control measures.
  5. Vaccines are key — ensure optimal use as part of a national dengue prevention strategy.

These calls to action, while tailored to Thailand's context, are also relevant to numerous other countries grappling with the challenge of combating dengue - a disease estimated to impact 60% of the world’s population by 2080.4



1 World Health Organization. Ending the neglect to attain the Sustainable Development Goals: A road map for neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030. 2021.
2 World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East A. Comprehensive Guideline for Prevention and Control of Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. 2011.
3 Combating dengue outbreak and addressing overlapping challenges with COVID-19. June 2023. Available from:
4 Messina JP, Brady OJ, Golding N, Kraemer MUG, Wint GRW, Ray SE, et al. The current and future global distribution and population at risk of dengue. Nature Microbiology. 2019;4(9):1508-15.

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