General Santos City—The provincial government of South Cotabato has allotted an initial P5 million to address the outbreak of the deadly dengue fever, which had already claimed 21 lives.
The Provincial Board, which convened for a special session on Friday, approved the immediate release of the funding as it formally declared the entire province under a state of calamity through Resolution 1, series of 2019, authored by Board member Jinky Avance.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, chaired by South Cotabato Gov. Reynado Tamayo Jr., signed an order on Wednesday endorsing the calamity declaration and requested urgent action by the board.
Lawyer Renette Bergado, provincial administrator and acting head of the PDRRM Office, said the P5-million funding would be drawn from the province’s P31 million quick response fund.
“It will be used for the purchase of necessary logistics like fogging and misting machines, biologics and the conduct of massive information and education campaign,” she said.
In Manila, Senator Christopher Go on Saturday called for actions to prevent dengue this rainy season and spelled out better healthcare access for affected Filipinos.
The Department of Health also released an update on dengue cases, showing 5,744 cases from June 30 – July 6, 2019.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said there were 115,986 cases nationwide from January 1 to July 6. He said this figure was 22 percent higher than last year’s 4703 cases.
Most cases came from Region 6 which listed 15,826 incidents. This was followed by Region 4A with 12,780 case, Region 12 – 9572, Region 10 – 9354 and Region 7- 9259.
A total 7768 for 2019 had been recorded in the National Capital Region for 2019 while 8603 for 2018 in the same place.
Duque also said the most affected group was composed of those with ages 5-9 which is 23 percent, followed by 10-14 yrs old—19 percent.
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Of all the dengue cases, 52 percent are males and 48 percent are female.
As this developed, the Department of Health-CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) issued a Dengue Alert Response and Emergency Management of Cases to all Provincial Health Offices, City Health Offices, Municipal Health Officers, Dengue Prevention and Control Program Coordinators, Provincial Department of Health Office and other concerned Units in the region.
The Integrated Provincial Health Office proposed the purchase of dengue NS1 rapid test kits and a platelet separator, which is considered one of the important equipment in the handling of dengue cases, she said.
Based on a report submitted by the IPHO to the PDRRMC, the reported dengue cases in the province’s 10 towns and lone city already reached a total of 3,348 as of July 13.
The number was 149 percent higher than the 1,344 cases recorded in the same period last year.
High dengue incidence was noted in the municipalities of Surallah, Banga, Norala, Tantangan, and Sto. Niño, which have earlier declared a state of calamity.
It said the province’s dengue cases breached the epidemic threshold as of May and with clustering of cases on 91 barangays.
The epidemiology bureau defined clustering as three or more cases recorded in a barangay in four consecutive weeks.
Jose Barroquillo, IPHO’s mosquito-borne disease program coordinator, said that along with the purchase of the needed logistics, it was important for local communities to observe the “4S” strategy against dengue.
It stands for search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites, secure self-protection measures by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and daily use of mosquito repellent, seek early consultation, and support fogging/spraying only in hotspot areas.
“The regular cleanup of our communities and households is still the best way to combat dengue,” he said. Barroquillo said the fogging or misting operations should be done in four cycles and not only once to ensure that dengue-carrying mosquitoes will be wiped out.
Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said this is in support of the declaration of Health Secretary Francisco Duque on the National Dengue Alert due to the continuous increase of dengue cases in various regions including CALABARZON.
“In line with this, we will be assisting Local Government Units (LGUs) through the the Provincial Department of Health Offices in every provinces in the conduct of anti-dengue activities such as the implementation of the enhanced 4S- strategy including search and destroy mosquito breeding sites, secure self-protection, seek early consultation and support misting/spraying to prevent an impending outbreak,” he emphasized.
Furthermore, he said the regional office will also intensify the health education and awareness campaign against Dengue by conducting community assembly, meeting and distribution of IEC materials.
With the onset of the rainy season, Go is asking Filipinos to be cautious to prevent dengue in their houses and community.
He encouraged the public to immediately see a doctor once dengue symptoms appeared.
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The newly-elected senator admitted the DOH has enough medicine and budget for this concern.
Although DOH has cleared that there is no dengue epidemic in the country, the Philippines still has thousands of suspected cases nationwide.
In the first 20 weeks of 2019, a total 77040 suspected cases of dengue have been reported with 328 deaths.
Although numbers are high, cases are already starting to decline.
“The national dengue alert issued by DOH last Monday was to increase awareness among our people,” Go said. “Still, we must remain safe and vigilant.”
Meanwhile, Janairo said the Dengue Task Force in the LGUs would also be reactivated including the Dengue Fast Lane in all government and private hospitals.
“We will be prioritizing areas for community- based intervention to control dengue vector such as areas where there are clustering of dengue cases, occurrence of an outbreak in the past year, recent dengue-related deaths, vector indicators and presence of cases in schools and hospitals.” he disclosed.
“We will also send Disease Surveillance Officers to investigate and validate reported dengue cases, especially the Dengvaxia vaccinees who have signs and symptoms of dengue.
“There is still no vaccine for dengue. The best way to prevent dengue virus infection is to take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and consult a doctor immediately if suffering from a high a fever,” Janairo said. With PNA