All health workers, especially at the municipal, provincial and barangay levels, were urged Thursday to report all public health threats and emergencies to the Department of Health.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the move will ensure that the DOH can continuously promote the welfare of the people as mandated under newly signed Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act or RA No. 11332.
The new law aims to protect people from public health threats through efficient and effective disease surveillance of diseases of public health concern.
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It recognizes the disease surveillance and response systems of the DOH and its local counterparts as the first line of defense against epidemics or any events that may pose health threats to the public.
With the new law, Duque said the DOH will be able to ensure timely and accurate health information on notifiable diseases and other public health-related events to citizens and health providers.
“This law will greatly help inform preventive measures and epidemics response in the country,” Duque added.
The DOH statement came as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that the death toll from dengue has reached 202 in five regions.
The NDRRMC said 38,804 dengue cases have been reported in Calabarzon and in Regions VI, VII, VIII, and XII from Jan. 1 to July 13, with Region VI with the most number, at 15,813 cases and 90 deaths.
The death toll from dengue fever in the Eastern Visayas region rose to 21 this week with 5,577 others hospitalized from Jan. 1 to July 16, which is twice that of the same period last year, the DOH in the region said on Thursday.
From July 8 to July 16, two more deaths were recorded and 768 new cases were detected even as the local government rushed to contain the diseases. Most of the victims are children.
“The increase is unusual since this is the second successive year that cases are high. Cases have been above the usual occurrence beyond the epidemic threshold since the start of the year,” said DOH regional information officer John Paul Roca.
There’s no dengue outbreak in Eastern Visayas, but the region has been included in the national dengue alert as clustering of cases has been reported in 105 villages, Roca said.
“We already asked village officials in areas with clustered cases to conduct assembly and regular clean-up drive to fight dengue,” Roca added.
Of the 21 dengue deaths, four were recorded in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and three in Tacloban City.
Each of the following areas reported at least one death from Jan. 1 up to this week—Quinapondan, General MacArthur, and Hernani in Eastern Samar; Baybay City, Burauen, Babatngon, Mahaplag, Merida, and Ormoc City in Leyte; Sogod and Macrohon in Southern Leyte; Kawayan in Biliran; and Calbayog City and Catbalogan City in Samar province.
Roca said the non-stop surge of cases since last year is alarming. Based on DOH records, in 2018 there were 11,000 people afflicted by the mosquito-borne disease with 61 deaths.
The Health department asked city and town mayors to organize cleanup campaigns focusing on the destruction of mosquito breeding places in their areas, and conduct community assembly in areas with dengue cases.
The official reiterated the DOH’s “4S” to fight dengue
as an effective strategy to prevent cases and deaths.
These “4S” strategies are the search and destroy mosquito breeding places, seek early consultation, self-protection method, and support fogging and spraying only in hot spot areas, where an increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks, to prevent an impending outbreak.
READ: Employ 4S strategy to fight dengue—DOH chief
“We have been informing the public to identify early symptoms of dengue fever for them to be able to bring victims to rural health units and hospitals for immediate treatment. Most of the victims who died were rushed to hospitals late, causing them to have severe complications,” Roca said.
Dengue fever is marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, and pain behind the eyes, muscles, and joints. Some may develop rashes and varying degrees of bleeding in different parts of the body.
The entire Zamboanga Sibugay province was placed under a state of calamity after the province tallied 2,885 dengue cases, a two thousandfold increase from the 126 cases recorded in the same period last year, said Dr. Joshua Brilliantes, assistant regional director of the Department of Health-Zamboanga.
Alamed over the rising dengue cases in several regions in the country, Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday said local government units have a decisive role in arresting an impending outbreak.
Binay said LGUs can help in mapping areas where dengue cases have been spotted but still unreported.
“We should not let the dengue situation reach epidemic proportions,” she said.
According to DOH records, a total of 106,630 dengue cases were reported nationwide from Jan. 1 to June 29 this year which resulted in 456 deaths.
This is 85 percent higher compared to the same period last year.
Western Visayas has the biggest number of reported dengue cases so far this year with 13,164, followed by Calabarzon (11,474 cases), Central Visayas (9,199 cases), Soccsksargen (9,107 cases) and Northern Mindanao (8,739 cases).
The following regions, meanwhile, have exceeded the alert threshold: Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Cordillera Administrative Region.
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