Addressing escalating dengue outbreaks, a global health threat

Professor Cordia Chu AM and Dr Tuan Pham. (Photo supplied)
Professor Cordia Chu AM and Dr Tuan Pham. (Photo supplied)

Exacerbated by climate change, dengue fever is spreading across the Indo-Pacific Region, creating escalating health risks.  This, in turn, is leading to pressing demands for novel strategies to both prevent and forecast dengue outbreaks. The Centre for Environment and Population Health (CEPH) at Griffith University is collaborating with multi-country research teams, to launch the E-Dengue project. This initiative aims to address the challenges posed by dengue transmission through innovative approaches in prevention and prediction.

With AUD $8,445,649 funding for a five-year grant from the Wellcome Trust, the E-Dengue project aims to develop a user-friendly digital prediction tool to enhance dengue prevention in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta. The collaborative project was inaugurated in Hanoi by Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Health in October, 2023.

A complex, stage-wise translational research project is underway

Under the leadership of Dr Dung Phung from University of Queensland (UQ) and an affiliated member of CEPH, this project consists of four programs: predictive modelling, user-centered design, proactive intervention, and community needs assessment and engagement. Program 1 develops climate-informed models to predict dengue fever outbreaks. Program 2 designs user-friendly interfaces for the early warning system. Program 3 implements interventions based on prediction data to mitigate dengue fever. Program 4 conducts a needs assessment to enhance communication and ensure tools meet end-users’ requirements.

A field trip to the Mekong Delta Region for a community needs assessment. (Photo supplied)
A field trip to the Mekong Delta Region for a community needs assessment. (Photo supplied)

The Program 4 is led by Griffith’s Prof Cordia Chu, Director of CEPH, and supported by Dr Hai Phung and a PhD student Thu Nguyen. They have adopted a Comprehensive Needs Assessment model, gathering insights from multiple perspectives with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The Griffith Team welcomes Dr Tuan Pham, a recently appointed Research Fellow, who brings valuable experience from five years of work in global health security in Vietnam. Pham will play a pivotal role in coordinating Program 4 and foster connections with other programs under the E-Dengue project and the healthcare sector in Vietnam.

Stakeholder engagement workshop in Can Tho, Vietnam. (Photo supplied)
Stakeholder engagement workshop in Can Tho, Vietnam. (Photo supplied)

On 28 February, 2024, Program 4 held a stakeholder engagement workshop in Can Tho, Vietnam, bringing together key stakeholders from Vietnam’s health sector. Through discussions and field visits to the Mekong Delta Region, we co-designed the workplan, mapped our stakeholders’ intervention needs, and received valuable insights for developing the tool’s dashboard. The stakeholder engagement workshop was highly productive, encouraging collaboration and continuous improvement.

What’s next?

Looking ahead, the CEPH Team is gearing up for a busy year working on Program 4. We will conduct fieldwork, and host consultation workshops and stakeholder interviews, to gather inputs to shape the development of user-friendly digital tools tailored to the needs of end-users. We will also host virtual knowledge-sharing seminars to exchange experience and insights with researchers and coordinators from other dengue prevention programs in affected countries around the world, with the initial focus on the Southeast Asian Region.

Overall, the E-Dengue project aims to enhance the effective use of digital tools for dengue prevention and control in Vietnam, fostering innovation and collaborative partnerships. The success of this endeavour should have significant implications for advancing future prevention and control measures for climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

For more information about the E-Dengue project, visit their website at


Professor Cordia Chu AM, Director and Dr Tuan Pham, Research and Engagement Fellow of the Centre for Environment and Population Health, are members of the Griffith Asia Institute.