WHO global health days

Campaign essentials

Public health context

Back in the 1940s, the discovery of synthetic insecticides was a major breakthrough in the control of vector-borne diseases. Large-scale indoor spraying programmes through the 1950s and 1960s succeeded in bringing many of the major vector-borne diseases under control.

By the late 1960s, many of these diseases – with the exception of malaria in Africa – were no longer considered to be of primary public health importance. As a result, control programmes lapsed and resources dwindled, resulting in a sharp reduction in entomologists and specialists in vector control from public health programmes.

Within the past 2 decades, some vector-borne diseases have re-emerged or spread to new parts of the world. Traditionally regarded as a problem for countries in tropical settings, vector-borne diseases pose an increasing threat to global public health, both in terms of the number of people affected and their geographic spread.

Combating these diseases requires renewed momentum on a global scale - from global public health agencies, between countries and within regions, across government sectors, at all levels of government, and within communities and households.