Dengue Amidst the Pandemic

Improving preparedness and response for multi-hazard scenarios

About the Symposium

Many countries now recognise the need for improved pandemic preparedness. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has affected more the disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty making them poorer and thus going far beyond the health sector. COVID-19 has overwhelmed health systems and caused widespread social & economic disruption affecting the tourism, agriculture, garment and service sectors. Current COVID-19 measures have also exposed gaps in disaster risk reduction strategies, which have failed to address pandemics and other biological hazards.

Dengue is one of the communicable diseases that incur high disease burden in tropical countries and with incept of COVID 19 pandemic the control of dengue has become more challenging. These challenges include co-existence of both these diseases with similar clinical features at early stages, hesitancies among public to seek medical care due to fear in contracting COVID 19, barriers in premise inspection and source reduction campaigns due to resistance from the public again due to fear in contracting COVID 19. Moreover, resulting floods and landslides may further facilitate transmission of dengue requiring more emphasis on environment modifications coming into place to mitigate the aftermath of these multi hazard scenarios.

There are also opportunities for pandemic preparedness and response to make better use of the existing infrastructure, including other hazards’ early warning protocols and addressing these will require the integration of pandemics into a multi-hazard scenario. It will also necessitate a multi-stakeholder approach to collectively examine impacts, coordinate fiscal, monetary, and social measures, share practices and to learn lessons.

In addition, this current pandemic has taught us more the importance of risk communication sometimes using the digital health technology. Within this backdrop, we plan to address risk communication strategies incorporating innovations as well to gather more recent evidence on this aspect.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Virginia Murray
Professor Virginia Murray
Head of Global Disaster Risk Reduction, UK Health Security Agency, UK 

Guest Speakers

Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga
Professor Dilanthi Amaratunga
Professor of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Head, Global Disaster Resilience Centre, School of Applied Sciences, University of Huddersfield, UK
Professor Neelika Malavige
Professor Neelika Malavige
MBBS (Col.), MRCP (UK), AFHEA, DPhil (Oxon), FRCP (Lond), FRCPath (UK)
Head, Centre for Dengue Research, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka and
Professor and Head,

Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Special Features of the Conference

  • Provides a platform for all health and non-health professionals to come together and present the related research work and innovations
  • Encourages debate and discussion on how a holistic approach to the risk communication, early response, and resilience trough innovation can help address some of the challenges through international collaboration and shared experience and support
  • Generates evidence of good quality research that will be  chosen through a robust review process
  • Promotes sharing of knowledge among the research community around the globe and encourage multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral collaboration.
  • Several side events on timely themes (details to be confirmed)
  • Paving the way to translate research evidence into practice.

Organised by:

Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka
National Dengue Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka
Global Disaster Resilience Centre, University of Huddersfield, UK

UKRI/EPSRC funded research collaboration: Improving COVID-19 and pandemic preparedness and response through the downstream of multi-hazard early warning systems
University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
National Science Foundation, Sri Lanka
Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Thailand
Federation of Sri Lanka Local Government Authorities, Sri Lanka
Newton Fund
GCRF - Global Challenges Research Fund
Disaster Preparedness & Response Division, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka
Anti Malaria Campaign, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

Contact us:

Conference secretary: Dr. Umesha Premathilaka on